Renowned German opera director dies

Renowned German opera director dies


norman lebrecht

November 22, 2022

The veteran Michael Hampe, head of Coloogne Opera until 1995 and founder of Dresden Music Festival, has died at 87.

Originally from Heidelberg, he directed operas at Salzburg, Covent Garden, La Scala and Los Angeles, being much favoured by Herbert von Karajan and Riccardo Muti.

He made several films and gave technical advice to Paris in the construction of the Bastille Opera.



  • Pedro says:

    Hampe was the producer of a wonderful Così fan tutte in 1982 with Muti and also of Karajan’s magnificent Don Giovanni in 1987, both in Salzburg.

    • Nick2 says:

      I saw Hampe’s Cosi when it transferred to La Scala in ‘84 or ‘85, also with Muti and this time with Ann Murray making her Scala debut as Dorabella. Very fine indeed. Some years earlier I had chatted with him as he showed me around the House in Cologne. When I told him many in the UK envied him the large open front of house spaces in a House like Cologne, he said he totally disliked them as they created no atmosphere to prepare an audience for the coming operatic experience. A fascinating and kindly man.

  • Alan Green says:

    Michael Hampe was a wonderful intendant and stagedirector. In the many years that he was the Intendant at the Cologne Opera, the house was regarded internationally as on the same level as Paris,London and Vienna. The level was consistently very high.Mr. Hampe was also a true gentleman.
    He will be remembered.

  • Isobel Buchanan says:

    So sorry to hear the news. I sang The Governess in a new production of The Turn of the Screw that Michael directed in Cologne in 1983 and he was a most imaginative and helpful director. We performed the same production in Paris and Munich and he was there to guide us through in each city. His book, The Crafty Art of Opera is well worth a read. Vale, Michael

  • Fabio Luisi says:

    I was very fortunate to conduct my first Falstaff in Düsseldorf with him as director: he was like directors always should be and today very seldom are. He was a musician, knew every word of the opera and he understood the meaning between the lines, so important with Boito (and Da Ponte). I learned a lot from him. And a gentleman who respected singers and musicians. He will be missed.