Jürgen Flimm (born 17 July 1941 in Gießen) is a German theater and opera director, and theater manager. After establishing himself as one of the exponents of Regietheater, Flimm was called to manage renowned theaters and festivals. His operatic productions in Germany led to an international career, with operas staged in the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, England, Italy, and the United States.
Life and career
Flimm studied theory of drama, literature and sociology at the University of Cologne and started his career with his first position as assistant director at the Munich Kammerspiele in 1968. He had positions as director at the National Theatre Mannheim and as senior director at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg (1973/74), then he worked as freelance director and director at the Schauspiel Cologne.
In 1985, he once more joined the Thalia Theatre, where he worked as leading director for the next fifteen years and which became, under his executive, one of the artistically and economically most successful voice theatres in Germany. Among his most important productions in Hamburg are plays by Anton Chekhov (Platonov, 1989; Uncle Vanya, 1995; Three Sisters, 1999), Henrik Ibsen (Peer Gynt, 1985; The Wild Duck, 1994), Arthur Schnitzler (Liebelei, 1988; Das weite Land, 1995) and William Shakespeare (Hamlet, 1986; King Lear, 1992; As You Like It, 1998).
With the 1978 production of Luigi Nono’s Al gran sole carico d’amore in Frankfurt, Flimm for the first time emerged as an opera director. Three years later, the production of Jacques Offenbach's Les contes d'Hoffmann followed at the Hamburg State Opera, and in 1990 Così fan tutte was performed in Amsterdam. For the latter production, Flimm co-operated for the first time with the Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, who became his most important artistic partner. During the last years, Flimm has produced works by Beethoven, Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Verdi, Gounod, Stravinsky, Franz Schreker and others at La Scala in Milan, the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Berlin State Opera, the Zurich Opera, the Vienna State Opera, and the Hamburg State Opera. In summer 2000, he staged a new version of Wagner's Ring for the Bayreuth Festival, and in June 2002, he was responsible for the scenic realisation of the world premiere of Der Riese vom Steinfeld by Friedrich Cerha at the Vienna State Opera.
Flimm was professor at the University of Hamburg and is a member of the Academies of Arts in Hamburg, Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt. He received the title of an honorary doctor of the University of Hildesheim. Amongst his prizes and awards are, amongst others: the Medal for Art and Science of the Free and Hanse Town Hamburg, the Konrad-Wolf-Prize of the Academy of Arts in Berlin, the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Order of the FRG) and the Österreichische Ehrenkreuz für Kunst und Wissenschaft (Austrian Cross of Honour for Arts and Sciences).
Between 1999 and 2003, Flimm was the president of the Deutsche Bühnenverein (German Stage Association), 2002 until 2004 director for drama at the Salzburg Festival. From 2005 until 2007, Flimm was the director of the RuhrTriennale, following founding director Gerard Mortier. Artistic director of the Salzburg Festival from 2007 until 2010, he was Intendant of the Berlin State Opera from 2010 until 31 March 2018.