Michael Leinert

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Michael Leinert (born October 20, 1942 in Meldorf , Schleswig-Holstein ) is a German director , dramaturge , lecturer and author .


He was born the son of the composer and musicologist Friedrich Leinert and the singer Agathe Wenzlaff. After graduating from the Free Waldorf School in Hanover , he studied music and literature. He was a student of Helmut Winschermann (oboe) in Detmold before he studied opera and drama directing with Heinz Arnold and August Everding at the University of Munich and the music academy there .

In 1966/67 he was assistant director to head director Ernst Poettgen at the Stuttgart State Opera and dramaturgical collaborator (program booklet) in the Freischütz production by Walter Felsenstein . As a dramaturge and director he worked at the stages in Kiel , Braunschweig , Coburg , at the Hamburg State Opera , the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and at the theater in Bremen . Here he worked as a dramaturge with director Rudolf Noelte together with its Freischütz staging. In 1986, Leinert was one of the speakers at the "Carl Maria von Weber Days" of the (then) GDR in Dresden - Scientific Conference: "Carl Maria von Weber - the legacy as a stimulus for the present". In the then Kulturpalast Dresden he spoke about Carl Maria von Weber as a writer and poet (Tonkünstlers Leben) .

In 1988 he became artistic director at the Pfalztheater in Kaiserslautern . Just three years later, Leinert accepted a call to the Kassel State Theater , which he directed until 1999. Here he created the 1st European Dramatist Competition with more than 1000 entries from all over Europe . a. was sponsored by Sir Peter Ustinov and August Everding. From November 1999 to August 2006 Michael Leinert worked as chief dramaturge, director and artistic assistant to general manager Tobias Richter at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf-Duisburg.

As a guest he has directed at opera and theaters in Germany, Denmark, Italy, Russia, Cyprus and the USA.

He is married to the American opera singer and singing teacher Susan Owen-Leinert .

Works / productions

Leinert's productions of Janáček's Jenůfa , Puccini's Manon Lescaut , Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana , Alban Berg's Wozzeck and, above all, the Wagner dramas Tristan and Isolde , The Flying Dutchman and Tannhäuser met with great audience response and national interest, as did Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen , who was performed in the cycle at the end of his tenure as director of the Kassel State Theater.

He is the director of the German premieres of Sergei Rachmaninov's opera Francesca da Rimini and Jean Sibelius ' only opera Die Jungfrau im Turm ( Jungfru i Tornet ), the world premiere of the first Cypriot chamber opera Manoli! by the composer Vassos Arghyrides and the opera Fackeltanz by the Danish composer Bent Lorentzen.

His Low German opera parody Der Hamburger Freischütz or De Bruut Schuss (written and directed) was premiered in the Opera stable of the Hamburg State Opera, played by Theater Bremen and produced as a radio play version by Radio Bremen. In Phonogram (Polygram) parody appeared on record.

In February 2003 Michael Leinert was the director of Donizetti's rarely played opera buffa Il borgomastro di Saardam at the Hamburg Chamber Opera . In October 2004 he brought out Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro in a new German text version to Beaumarchais . There he also directed Paisiello's The Barber of Seville in October 2005 .

In March 2006, Leinert successfully staged the opera Hamlet by Ambroise Thomas at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, with the singer Marlis Petersen as Ophélie (she was invited to sing this role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 2010 ). On November 1, 2006, his staging of Wagner's early opera Das Liebesverbot premiered at the Hamburg Chamber Opera .

In addition to the "classical" repertoire, Leinert has mainly campaigned for contemporary music theater with staging of works and the like. a. by Mauricio Kagel , John Cage , Dieter Schnebel , Ingomar Grünauer , Hans-Joachim Hespos , Wilfried Hiller , Hans-Jürgen von Bose . In 1981 he staged the German premiere of Ján Cikker's Das Erdbeben in Chili (based on Heinrich von Kleist 's novel of the same name ) at the Braunschweig State Theater . The opera magazine Orpheus International awarded this work the title “Production of the Month”. With Ernst Krenek's opera Orpheus und Eurydike (libretto by Oskar Kokoschka ), Leinert continued his preoccupation with 20th century music theater in 1993. In 1996, the Opernwelt magazine put its production of Alexander Zemlinsky's Sarema (Theater Trier), together with Handel's Tolomeo from the Halle Opera House , at the top of the year's noteworthy opera excavations. Leinert was director of the musica nova series at the Kiel stages (1970–1974). He then set up a studio for experimental music theater at numerous German theaters. In Munich ( Bavarian State Opera ) he was responsible for the experimental stage in the stables together with Walter Haupt from 1978 to 1980.

In the drama staged LEINERT James Saunders ' neighbors and an unfortunate accident (Munich press Price tz-Rose), Schiller's The Maid of Orleans , Gombrowicz ' Yvonne, Princess of Burgundy , Racine's Phaedra and Goethe's Faust . At the Staatstheater Kassel he staged Nikolaj Koljada's Die Amerika as a German premiere, which was also shown in Yekaterinburg . As a director, he successfully campaigned for the world premiere of Bernd Giesekings KZ play Breitenauer Walls . In October 2002, he was at the National Theater of Cyprus (Cyprus Theater Organization - THOC) in Nicosia, the director of the premiere of Nikos Kazantzakis ' Goethe-transmission of Faust . There he directed Molières Don Juan in March 2007 .

In 2007, Leinert staged the first performance in Memphis , Tennessee / USA of Sir Peter Maxwell Daviess monodrama The Medium with Susan Owen-Leinert at the new Chamber Opera of Memphis. Leinert's production repertoire spans a wide range from the first surviving German Singspiel Seelewig ( Sigmund Theophil Staden ) from 1644 to contemporary experimental music theater, whereby the operetta genre and above all the “opera for children” found an important place in his theatrical work to have.


Michael Leinert had been teaching since 1974 and was a lecturer at the universities of Braunschweig, Bremen, Hamburg, Eichstätt and Munich. He has also taught at the music academies in Hamburg and Düsseldorf (opera directing and performing).


  • Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle (complete live recording) was released on CD and produced by the ARS Produktion label.
  • Libretto for Der Steppenwolf after Hermann Hesse , opera by Bent Lorentzen, Edition · S - music¬sound¬art

Worsaaesvej 19, 5. sal DK-1972 Frederiksberg C Denmark.

  • Libretto for the chamber opera The novel with the double bass based on the eponymous story by Chechov , chamber opera by Jürg Baur . Breitkopf & Härtel publishing house, Wiesbaden; First performance in Düsseldorf.
  • Libretti for contemporary chamber operas (compositions by Bentzon, Rempe, Lorentzen, F. Leinert) with world premieres a. a. in Kiel, Braunschweig, Kassel, Hamburg and Munich.
  • Monograph on Carl Maria von Weber - with translations into Swedish and Chinese; Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek (5th edition).
  • Theater as a fast-food place? In: Why we need the theater . Pp. 62-66; suhrkamp paperback 2483; Ed. Peter Iden.
  • Tonkünstlers life - Weber as a writer and poet. In: About musical theater. A festschrift dedicated to Arthur Scherle, eds. Stefan G. Harpner and Birgit Gotzes. Ricordi, Munich 1992, pp. 156-162. (Previously in: Contributions to Musicology, Vol. 30, No. 1 (1988), pp. 84–89.)
  • My musical theater experience with Bent Lorentzen. In: Skriftfest. Bent Lorentzen and Hans musik. Publisher [Koncrt & Koncpt], Hellerup-Copenhagen 2005.
  • Librettos of operas for children, like
    • The magic horn based on Weber's Oberon .
    • The magic flute after Mozart.
    • Der Freischütz and the Devil after Weber, premiered on November 28, 2000 at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf-Duisburg.

He has written articles on the subject of music and theater for several specialist journals, including the opera world . As a radio play author , he worked for Radio Bremen and NDR Hamburg ( De Fleegen Hollanner , Schandal op'n Gänsemarkt and others). As a music editor he produced radio programs on the subject of Carl Maria von Weber for NDR Hamburg .

  • Co-editor of the first critical complete edition of the one- and two-part piano songs in 12 vols. by Louis Spohr in Verlag Dohr, Cologne.

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