Obituary: Hungarian Conductor Stefan Soltész Dies While Conducting at the Bayerische Staatsoper

By Francisco Salazar

The Bayerische Staatsoper has announced the death of conductor Stefan Soltész.

The company said, “It is with horror and great sadness that the Bavarian State Opera has to announce the death of Stefan Soltesz. He died tonight after collapsing while conducting ‘Die Schweigsame Frau’ at the Nationaltheater. Our thoughts are with his wife Michaela.”

General Director Serge Dorny also took to Twitter and said, “I am deeply saddened by the news of the collapse and death of Stefan Soltesz. We are losing a gifted conductor.” 

Soltész was born in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, and received piano lessons from age four. He went to Vienna in 1956, where he became a member of the Wiener Sängerknaben at age ten. He studied piano, conducting and composition at the Wiener Musikakademie beginning at age 14.

In 1971 he began his career as Kapellmeister at the Theater an der Wien and went on to condut at the Vienna State Opera and Graz Opera. Soltész was named conductor at the Hamburg State Opera from 1983 to 1985, and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1985 to 1997. In 1997, he was named both artistic director and GMD of the Aalto-Theater in Essen and held the position until the end of the 2012-13 season.

Soltész conducted at many of the great opera houses in the world including the Bayerische Staatsoper, Oper Frankfurt, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, the Budapest State Opera, the Teatr Wielki in Warsaw, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Paris Opera, and the Zurich Opera House.