See you in court, says agent to German diva

See you in court, says agent to German diva


norman lebrecht

September 03, 2017

The Munich agent Heidi Steinhaus has sent out the following message about her defecting star client Anja Kampe, saying she will see her in court:


Dear Friends, dear Colleagues,

As you know possibly from Anja Kampe, she does not want to work with me anymore because of her personal situation.

As you all know, I have had her worldwide management since 2002 and developed her to an awesome international career. Since 2002 a contract exists between Anja Kampe and my agency. My offer for a compromise settlement Anja Kampe has rejected.

Between Anja Kampe and my agency (there) is currently a disagreement about the effectiveness of the contract after 15 years of cooperation. I’ll just let the court clarify. Until a judicial decision, I may ask you to provide me with all information. I am sorry, to ask for your help in this case.
As always warm regards

Yours Heidi Steinhaus



Liebe Freunde, liebe Kollegen,


wie einige von Ihnen inzwischen von Anja Kampe erfahren haben, möchte sie aufgrund ihrer persönlichen Situation nicht mehr mit mir zusammenarbeiten. Wie Sie alle wissen, habe ich ihr weltweites Management seit 2002 und habe die Künstlerin zu einer großartigen internationalen Karriere geführt. Seit 2002 gibt es einen Vertrag zwischen Anja Kampe und meiner Agentur. Ein Angebot zur gütlichen Einigung hat Anja Kampe abgelehnt. Zwischen Anja Kampe und mir besteht derzeit – nach über 15 Jahren Zusammenarbeit – Uneinigkeit über die Wirksamkeit des Vertrages. Dieses lasse ich gerade gerichtlich klären. Bis zu einer gerichtlichen Entscheidung, darf ich Sie bitten, mir alle Informationen und Angebote mitzuteilen.

Es tut mir leid, dass ich Sie in dieser Sache um Ihre Mithilfe bitten muss, und bin wie immer

mit herzlichen Grüßen,


Heidi Steinhaus


  • Anja KAMPE says:

    Dear Mr. Lebrecht,

    One shouldn’t make a big deal out of a very normal procedure. The fact is now that I have been working with Ms. Steinhaus for 15 years who by now is 75 years old and for the past 5 years we have talked amicably about the future progress of my career in regards to her advanced age. For 5 years Ms. Steinhaus has told me that she has been looking for solutions for me inside as well as outside of her agency; unfortunately I had to discover recently that none of that is true. I can’t afford now to have not any professional support for my career and everybody will understand that I have to think about my future. For this reason I started to increase the pressure to find a mutually agreed upon solution this past fall, but when I realized that Ms. Steinhaus isn’t even seriously trying to find such a solution I decided with a heavy heart that I have to change management in spring. Contrary to what Ms. Steinhaus says, this has absolutely nothing to do with any personal situation and it is incorrect that she has offered me an amicable solution. Quite the opposite is true – when I tried to find a solution that works for both of us she threatened to bring this case up before a court during our last encounter.
    That is all and nobody regrets it more than I do, which can easily be proven by the fact that I’m the last notable artist who was leaving her agency and not the first one. There’s nothing more to say about this and everybody inside the business doesn’t only understand the necessity of this decision and accepts and even welcome it.

    With best regards,
    Anja Kampe

    • Vienna calling says:

      So all the artists on your ex agent’s list are no good? That’s a charming way to talk about your colleagues.

    • Well, maybe they are all good. But I have to say, Frau Kampe is the only famous one on the list.

      • Vienna calling says:

        Nobody talked about fame. There are a lot of extremely decent singers on that list. Insulting them was uncalled for.

        • Yet Another David says:

          I will second Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer on this. It is neither immodest nor inaccurate for Kampe to call herself “notable” when she regularly headlines in Munich, Vienna, and Berlin. The same cannot be said of any of the other names currently on the Steinhaus roster, however fine they may be as singers.

      • LOL, nobody talked about “good”, except you. In fact, it was your accusation against Frau Kampe that was truly uncalled for.
        What Frau Kampe said was “… I’m the last notable artist who was leaving her agency … “

  • [DE] eine großartige internationale Karriere
    [EN] an awesome international career

    Wie geil …

    BTW, what is this Heidi actually asking for here? She doesn’t know how to find an attorney or what?

  • Myrtar says:

    Sounds like an agent who is trying hard to publicly shame her client. No wonder she was dumped.

  • Hermann Lederer says:

    People who are interested in opera very likely know Anja Kampe. Who the hell knows who Ms. Heidi …. is? Artists are not the property of agents!

    • George says:

      It is not a question of “property”. It is a question of paying your agent the commission for the engagements that have been signed.
      And many times when singers switch agencies they refuse to do so. As I can see from operabase Anja Kampe cannot complain about the list of her upcoming engagements, which I suppose have been booked for her by Heidi Steinhaus. There are probably also engagements for 2019 and 2020 or even longer for which Kampe is going to owe Steinhaus a commission for the work that she has done.
      The letter has nothing to do with ‘publicly trying to shame a client’ and should not have been leaked to a blogger. Probably this was leaked by someone who thinks himself very important.

  • AB says:

    It is a difficult situation: having an exclusive contract with the agent you actually have a guarantee that someone really works hard for you. And the agent’s job is not always a pleasant one: you have to maintain the personal contact with intendants, casting directors, to be loved by everyone – in order to get an appointment with an easy director, to convince him to give a contract.

    On the other hand, once you have someone famous – like Ms. Kampe, who has now the contracts for several years in advance, it seems to be easy: you have the guaranteed commission till 2022 or even further – but it does not mean that the agent can stop or believe that the contracts for Ms. Kampe will be coming out of the blue. The agent has to continue working and develop the carreer with the artist together. And if he/she does not have the motivation or the energy to keep moving – then there is a serious problem coming up in the career of the artist. So, there should be a serious talk between “business partners” – the singer and the agent. And if the artist feels that the career suffers because the agent is too passive – then the artist should make some serious decisions. So, I truly support Ms. Kampe in this step: it is her responsability and her career that she entrusts to an agent.

  • Anonymouse says:

    I can’t be the only industry professional who is aghast that a piece of private correspondence from an agent to a KBB has been leaked to a blogger.

    However unsatisfactory the situation to Ms Kampe, Ms Steinhaus has a perfect right for the conditions of the contract to be observed until this legal dispute is resolved.

    I, personally, don’t believe in contracts between singers and agents, as they often lead to impasses such as this.

    Regardless, an agreement is in place and should be honoured. And whoever leaked this information imagine how they would feel were their private professional arrangements opened to public scrutiny.