Professor by proxy of Music Theatre, Director of the Opera School
Roman Hovenbitzer (born in 1972) grew up in the Lower Rhine region. After studying direction of musical theatre in Hamburg, under Götz Friedrich, he worked as a director’s assistant and director at the Staatstheater Kassel from 1996 to 1999. This is where his first stagings of Bellini’s NORMA, Donizetti’s DON PASQUALE and Franz Hummel's chamber opera AN DER SCHOENEN BLAUEN DONAU were created. Roman Hovenbitzer has been working as a freelance director since 1999, staging a total of more than 80 pieces, spanning every field of musical theatre. He lives with his family in Kassel.
One of his areas of focus lies on pieces that would be classed as rather unusual. For example, he has been in charge of the ‘American Musical Theatre’ series at Theater Hagen since 2007, which has staged works such as DEAD MAN WALKING by Jake Heggie, A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE by André Previn, STREET SCENE by Kurt Weill, SUSANNAH by Carlisle Floyd, VANESSA by Samuel Barber and JONNY SPIELT AUF by Ernst Krenek. He received mentions in the polls of critiques by Die Deutsche Bühne, Welt am Sonntag and Opernwelt for many of these productions. Similarly, he has been commissioned to restage Massenet’s ESCLARMONDE (Dessau) und CENDRILLON (Münster), Leoncavallo’s LA BOHÈME (Staatsoper Prag) and I MEDICI (Erfurt), Flotow’s ALESSANDRO STRADELLA, Cornelius’ DER BARBIER VON BAGDAD, Keiser’s DIE GROSSMÜTIGE TOMYRIS (Gießen) and Lehár’s GIUDITTA (Flensburg) and others, at various venues. He has also directed two premières at Theater Hagen (HELLE NÄCHTE/Moritz Eggert and TSCHICK/Ludger Vollmer), and the European première of the opera ‘JFK’, by David T. Little, at the Staatstheater Augsburg in spring 2019.
Alongside this, Roman Hovenbitzer has also been involved in classical repertoire. He staged Wagner’s LOHENGRIN at the opera festivals in Finland’s Savonlinna, and this production was also presented at the Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2014. He worked on DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG (Wagner), ARIADNE AUF NAXOS (R. Strauss) and RUSALKA (Dvorak) at the Kiel Opera House, on MANON LESCAUT (Puccini) at Essen’s Aalto Theater, on LA BOHÈME (Puccini) and PIQUE DAME (Tchaikovsky) at the Prague State Opera House, and on PETER GRIMES (Britten) and NABUCCO (Verdi) at the Theater Krefeld/ Mönchengladbach. He collaborated with the choreographer Henning Paar, to create a staged version of Handel’s MESSIAH for the Staatstheater Braunschweig.
He has also worked in several other cities, including Bielefeld, Dortmund, Pforzheim, Oldenburg, Coburg, Bremerhaven, Schwerin and Meiningen.
Abroad, he has long enjoyed a close collaboration with Theater Vanemuine in Tartu, Estonia. Other commitments abroad have taken Roman Hovenbitzer to Innsbruck, the festivals in Miskolc Hungary and Salvador de Bahia in Brazil. His piece for children, DER KLEINE MOZART, toured China, with performances in four cities.
In 2014 to 2016, he took up a visiting professorship for Dramatic Musical Representation/Staged Interpretation at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, where he lectured Master’s students on staging, and worked on Mozart’s DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE (2015) and Britten’s THE TURN OF THE SCREW (2016). In 2018/19, he held a lectureship in ‘Stagecraft’ at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln (University of Music and Dance Cologne).