Katharina Thoma is an opera director of growing international standing. Her highly sought after directorial style, informed and influenced by her academic and professional musical background, has led to her working in prestigious opera houses across Europe.
Her growing reputation has led to a string of high-profile projects across Europe, including Madama Butterfly (Folkopera Stockholm), Hänsel & Gretel (Göteborg Opera), La clemenza di Tito (Opéra national du Rhin, Strasbourg), Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos (Glyndebourne Festival, her UK debut in 2013) and her Royal Opera House debut in 2014, directing Un ballo in maschera.
Productions in 2016-17 include Martha in Frankfurt, Adriana Lecouvreur in Karlsruhe and a revival of Ariadne auf Naxos for Glyndebourne. Further ahead plans include Othello at the Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater, as well as a world première in Stockholm.
Katharina has worked extensively in Germany: for Oper Frankfurt, in addition to Martha in the season 2016/17, she has directed Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and Samuel Barber’s Vanessa (created originally for the Malmö Opera), for Theater Nordhausen productions include Nabucco, Eugene Onegin and Rigoletto, at the Staatstheater Kassel, Die Zauberflöte and Saul, and Carmen, La bohème, Boris Godunov, Il trovatore and Eliogabalo at Oper Dortmund, where she was resident director from 2011–2014.
Katharina’s background is musical: she studied piano at the Musikhochschule Lübeck, where she obtained a diploma in teaching as well as an artistic degree. Inspired by this musical background, as well as through her work as an accompanist for Lieder and opera, she became interested in directing and subsequently completed internships at theatres in Frankfurt, Innsbruck and Darmstadt.
In 2007 Katharina was awarded second prize at Camerata Nuova’s European Operatic Direction Competition for her directorial concept of Dvořák’s Rusalka. Her first large-scale projects as a freelance director were Piero – Ende der Nacht by contemporary composer Jens Joneleit at the Münchener Biennale, and Samuel Barber’s Vanessa with Malmö Opera, which later transferred to Frankfurt.
Prior to this, Katharina held the position of assistant director at the Staatstheater Kassel, where she staged such chamber operas as Milhaud’s Le pauvre matelot and Ibert’s Angélique, and assisted Rosamund Gilmore and Johannes Schütz. This was followed by a period at Oper Frankfurt, where she worked alongside Richard Jones, Keith Warner and Christof Loy.
In addition, from 2008–2012, Katharina held the position of lecturer in stage performance at the Musikhochschule Mainz. During this time she staged multiple productions, including Gianni Schicchi, Die Zauberflöte, Offenbach’s Coscoletto and Moritz Eggert’s chamber opera Wir sind daheim.