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Ben Glassberg

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

My aunt is an actress, so I spent a lot of my childhood backstage in the theatre. The magic of numerous elements and diverse individuals coming together to create something whole was mesmerising. I remember falling in love with musical theatre when I saw the musical Merrily We Roll Along by Stephen Sondheim at the age of 7. The combination of music, text, choreography and design was overwhelming!

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

I think sometimes we struggle to put deep emotions and psychology into words. Music elevates language to another level and speaks directly to our souls. When the Count asks for forgiveness in Act 4 of Le nozze di Figaro, we take his apology only remotely seriously because of the beauty of the background music. There is also something extraordinarily powerful when the human voice is projected over a large symphony orchestra without amplification - this would be impossible with speech, but the vibration of the singing voice makes it possible.

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

Of course, I think it is important that theatre critically reflects society and I am sure that it has a didactic role in modern culture. However, I am also firmly convinced that we also have a responsibility to entertain. Theatre that takes the audience away from everyday life and satisfies the imagination is also essential. 


Born in

London (Great Britain)


Music Degree at the University of Cambridge, Conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London

Five to ten important engagements

La bohème with the English National Opera Orchestra, Works with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Mozart/Da Ponte Trilogie at the Opera La Monnaie in Brussels, La clemenza di Tito at the Glyndebourne Festival 2017 and Opéra de Rouen Normandie, Missa solemnis at the Opéra de Rouen Normandie, BBC Proms 2021, Fidelio at the Glyndebourne Festival 2021

Formative collaboration with these artists

Benjamin Grosvenor, Kirill Gerstein, Omer Meir Wellber, Sally Matthews, Nicky Spence, Andrea Breth

Debut an important works at the Volksoper Wien

Music Director of the Volksoper Wien from January 2024

Debut: Concert by the Vienna Volksoper Orchestra on 19 February (2022/23 season)

Further works at the Volksoper: Der fliegende Holländer, Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor (2022/23), Ein Deutsches Requiem, Der Zauberer von Oz,

Significant prizes & honours

2017: Grand Prix at the 55th International Besançon Competition for Young Conductors



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