Stage: mourning director Jürgen Flimm

Stage: mourning director Jürgen Flimm

Mourning director Jürgen Flimm

The director and artistic director Jürgen Flimm has died.  Photo: picture alliance / dpa

The director and artistic director Jürgen Flimm has died. photo

© picture alliance / dpa

He was internationally active and one of the leading directors in the German-speaking world. Now the director and multiple artistic director Jürgen Flimm has died. He is also honored with a black flag.

mourning for Jurgen Flimm. The director and artistic director died on Saturday at the age of 81 in Hamelwörden, northwest of Hamburg. The Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden, one of his many places of work over the past decades, announced this at the weekend.

“Jürgen Flimm was a grand master of theater and Opera, a self-confessed friend of the public, a passionate champion of art,” wrote Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Flimm’s widow Susanne Ottersbach-Flimm. He put his artistic talent at the service of the people. “And he also acted on the stage of the public life. Again and again he brought new impetus to our country’s cultural-political debate,” said Steinmeier in a letter of condolence published on Sunday. He was a friend of Flimm and admired him very much. We will not forget him and his art.”

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz also paid tribute to Flimm. “Whether theatre, opera, TV or cinema – Jürgen Flimm has renewed and shaped the stages as director and artistic director – in Hamburgthe Ruhr area, Salzburg, Bayreuth, Berlin,” wrote the SPD politician on Twitter. “His big heart, his confidence and his fine sense of humor will now be missing.”

Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth spoke of Flimm’s “contagious enthusiasm”. The death was “a great loss for the theater and opera world, not only in German-speaking countries,” said the Greens politician, according to information from Sunday. “His courage for creative innovation made him one of our most important ambassadors of opera and theater art for five decades.” Many wonderful productions were created under his direction, which were celebrated by audiences and critics at home and abroad.

A big Love to the arts

North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst praised Flimm as an “extraordinary master of his trade”. With his work, he has had a lasting impact on the theater scene in Germany and Europe for decades, the CDU politician wrote on Twitter. “His directorship has given the Cologne stages far beyond the national borders and to this day lasting splendor.”

Flimm’s successor as artistic director of the Ruhrtriennale 2021 to 2023, Barbara Frey, said: “Jürgen Flimm had a great love for the arts. For me he stood for so many things, especially for the really great actor: interior theatre.”

Berlin’s Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer wrote on Twitter: “Although at home artistically all over the world and professionally connected to many German stages, he always radiated the open and humorous nature of his Rhenish homeland. It was precisely his humor and his openness that made Jürgen Flimm in my early years as a senator to a close adviser and good friend.”

The Salzburg Festival, which Flimm directed from 2006 to 2010, described him as one of the most influential and successful directors and theater directors. “As an opera and theater director, he celebrated triumphs with audiences and critics,” wrote artistic director Markus Hinterhäuser. As head of drama, he set accents with consistent promotion of young talent, as director with a finely spun thematic overall concept. A black flag waved at the Festspielhaus as a “sign of mourning and gratitude”.

He was a “theater legend”

The manager of the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, Joachim Lux, spoke of a passionate theater person. “Jürgen Flimm was one of the outstanding directors of the republic, art-loving, sly and in love with the public,” said Lux ​​in Hamburg. Flimm headed the Hamburg theater from 1985 to 2000. “He threw himself in front of his Thalia like a lion whenever it was necessary, and that was not uncommon. In Cologne as well as in Hamburg, he repeatedly made artists possible who even outshone his own considerable fame – that includes size.”

Hamburg’s Senator for Culture, Carsten Brosda, described Flimm as a theater legend. “Jürgen Flimm not only shaped the Thalia Theater. Also as President of the Theater Association and on many stages, he left important artistic marks with irrepressible creativity and captivating storytelling. He will be missed!”, tweeted the SPD politician.

Born on July 17, 1941 into a Protestant family of doctors in Gießen, he grew up in Cologne, where he also studied theater studies, German and sociology. He began his directing career in 1968 as an assistant to Fritz Kortner and Claus Peymann at the Munich Kammerspiele. As a theater director he earned merits in Cologne from 1979 to 1985. As artistic director, he made the Thalia Theater the best-attended stage in Germany.

Flimm directed the Ruhrtriennale and the Salzburg Festival. He was director of the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden from 2010 to 2018. He has worked at La Scala in Milan, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London, the Vienna State Opera, the Metropolitan Opera New York and the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals, among others. He was also a director in film and television productions and also worked as an actor.


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