Nürnberger Oper Fires Director Peter Konwitschny Over Inappropriate Comments

By Dejan Vukosavljevic
(Credit: © Monika Rittershaus/Oper Graz)

The Nürnberger Oper has decided to end its collaboration with the opera director Peter Konwitschny for the production of Verdi’s “Il Trovatore.”

“The background to this is a disagreement with the director’s behavior in dealing with the artists in the house,” said the opera house in a statement for BR24. “The theater management came to the same assessment after discussions with several people involved, and made it unmistakeably clear that there is no room for discrimination at the Staatstheater Nürnberg.”

Per Konwitschny’s account, the situation emerged during the rehearsal of one scene that involved the chorus and the soloists. “One of the nuns in the scene was a black singer, with whom I’ve been working together for a long time. She turned away completely because of the fear of the gun used during the scene. Then I told her: ‘When you’re in such a horrific situation, you physically want to run away, but you’re paralyzed, you can’t get rid of the feeling. It’s like in Africa, if a lion comes towards you, then you can’t look away either.’ That’s it,” elaborated Konwitschny.

According to the director, he received an e-mail from the Artistic Director Jens-Daniel Herzog the following day stating that he behaved in a racially discrediting manner. Konwitschny replied to Herzog by saying that he did not want to continue working on the project after such accusations. Theater terminated the agreement with Konwitschny the next day.

Konwitschny’s assistant Marie-Christine Lüling took over the final phase of the rehearsals.