Hans Neuenfels died of Covid

Hans Neuenfels died of Covid


norman lebrecht

February 10, 2022

The New York Times obituary desk has ascertained the cause of death of the controversial opera director.

Hans Neuenfels, a German director and writer whose provocative, iconoclastic productions made him one of the pioneers of modern operatic stagecraft and the frequent target of audience and critical outrage, died in Berlin on Sunday. He was 80.

The cause was Covid-19, his son, the cinematographer Benedict Neuenfels, said.


No word of this appears in German media.


  • Kevin Ketchup says:

    I sincerely wonder how many boosters he had received; if only the authorities allowed for expedited access for prestige-class citizens, perhaps he would not have perished to this disgusting and dangerous plague.

    All the best from Albania,

    • John Chunch says:

      Oh buzz off. Covid has already killed 43 million people worldwide and you want to joke about it? Get a life.

      • Babajide Yabumbaye, PhD says:

        Dear Chunch! This is not the time for personal attacks. Mr. Ketchup made very good points which are worth discussing. Please take your fear mongering somewhere else.

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      Neuenfels generally started on the boosters before morning rehearsal and was normally fully vaccinated by about 11am.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Probably they are afraid that the discussion about covid and vaccination wil flare-up.

  • Antwerp Smerle says:

    Neuenfels’ production of Lohengrin (Bayreuth, 2010-2015) – with the rats – was unforgettable. It could easily have been dismissed as another example of deliberately provocative Regietheater, but in the theatre, and (thankfully) on video, it made complete sense in a mysterious and profound way. RIP.

    • Anthony Sayer says:

      I don’t know whether you remember the beginning of Act III, when one of the baby pink rats forlornly rejoins his compatriots on the other side to balance numbers, but that piece of theatre was born of a genuine problem at the original dress rehearsal in 2010. Two of the children had been sick earlier and sent home, but the purely logistical problem of the Wedding Scene had not been resolved. We ended up with six on one side and four on the other. The problem was played out in front of two thousand audience members in plain sight, much to their delight. One terrified pink rat was sent stage right to balance the visuals. Neuenfels, three yards away from me, drunk as a lord and smoking his ninetieth of the day proclaimed, far too loudly, ‘Geil, das behalten wir!’. And so it stayed, but the charm of the moment was never the same…

  • Player says:

    No jabs? If so, sad. But are we sure sure he died “of” Covid, not merely “with”?

    • Brettermeier says:

      “But are we sure sure he died “of” Covid, not merely “with”?”

      Why trust what his son says, right?!?

      Are we sure you “use” your brain or do you merely “have” one? So many unanswered questions.

  • Anthony Sayer says:

    Died ‘of’ or ‘with’ covid? Neuenfels was a heavy smoker and drinker all his adult life (maybe before; I don’t know). I can’t imagine his lifestyle protected him in any way from anything that might have been doing the rounds. In any case, he certainly lived the life he wanted to lead and lived to eighty. Pretty good in anyone’s book.