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Julia Hansen

When were you first enchanted by (musical) theatre in your life? And by what means?

As I come from a musical theatre family, my father was a clarinettist, both grandparents were pianists and my mother was a make-up artist at the Schauspielhaus Hamburg, I came into contact with theatre, music and opera at an early age. My first operas were Carmen, Freischütz and of course The Magic Flute at the Hamburg State Opera.

Why do people sing and why don't they speak?

For me, musical theatre is one of the most beautiful and complex art forms. Music, theatre and art in interaction. Language as song that conveys emotions directly and immediately. It's not just the virtuosity of the singing that captivates the listeners and spectators, but above all the synthesis of the arts of singing, orchestra, theatre and image.

What role can/should music theatre play in today's society?

Just like music, theatre, dance and art, music theatre has the important task of taking the audience on an emotional and intellectual journey, detached from the reality of everyday life, but nevertheless always in confrontation with the world and the zeitgeist. Musical theatre should entertain and bring joy, but also open up, sensitise and stimulate reflection.


Born in

Hamburg (Germany)


Trained as a theatre sculptor at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; basic studies in theatre studies/art history; assistant at the Hamburger Schauspielhaus, Deutsches Theater, Schauspiel Köln, Theater Freiburg

Five to ten important engagements

Fairy Queen and Castor&Pollux at the Theater an der Wien

Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and Roberto Devereux at the Grand Opera de Geneve

L'Etoile at the Royal Opera House London/UK

Achille in Sciro at the Teatro Real/Madrid

Don Pasquale, Poliuto, Turco in Italia and Don Giovanni for the Glyndebourne Festival /UK

Giasone, Agrippina and Armida for the Vlaamse Oper/Belgium

Hänsel & Gretel at the Opéra national de Paris/Garnier

Cendrillon at the Opera national de Paris/Bastille

Il Ritorno d'Ulisse at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées/Paris

Carmen in Santa Fe/USA

2007-2011 Design manager at the Stadttheater Bern, e.g. for Il Viaggio a Reims, La traviata, la bohème, Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Don Giovanni

Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg: La Calisto, Das Liebesverbot, Der Rosenkavalier, Werther, La Belle Hélène, Platée, as well as Die Zauberflöte, which was subsequently shown in Nice, Graz and Cologne

Aalto Theater Essen: Salome and Le Grand Macabre

Formative collaboration with the following artists

Close collaboration with Mariame Clement since 2004

Debut at the Volksoper Wien

Stage and Costume Design for Die lustige Witwe (Season 2023/24)

Significant Prizes & Honours

EOP (European Opera Directing Prize 2001) for the concept and realisation of Fidelio

French critics' association Le Syndicat Professionnel de la Critique Dramatique et Musicale for the production of Platée with the 1st prize for the best stage and costume design of the year 2010

Austrian Music Theatre Award 2018 for the best production of Don Quixote at the Bregenz Festival

Opera!Awards 2019 for the best world premiere/rediscovery of Barkouf

*Use of the photograph (© Garciacano) only for the purpose of current reporting on the Volksoper Wien