A native of Hamburg, director Christian Räth’s work takes him to many of the world’s leading opera houses, with a large and diverse repertoire, ranging from Wagner, Strauss, Janáček, Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti, Mozart, Britten and Bartók to musicals and contemporary creations.
Recent new works include Strauss Die Schweigzame Frau and Korngold’s Das Wunder der Heliane at the Bard Summerscape Festival 2019/22, Der Freischütz and Macbeth at the Wiener Staatsoper, Le Baron Tzigane at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, L’Italiana in Algeri in Portland and the direction and design of Kiss Me Kate for the Haut école de musique de Genève, in collaboration with the Théâtre du Galpon, Geneva. Plans include the world premiere of Woman with Eyes Closed by Jennifer Higdon, at Opera Philadelphia and a return to Bard.
In 2021 Christian conceived and directed two unique historical events in Egypt – “The Pharaoh’s Golden Parade” – celebrating the journey of 22 royal mummies through the city of Cairo, and the opening ceremony of the antique “Sphinx Road” at Luxor. Both productions involved more than a thousand participants and were broadcast worldwide.
Other opera stagings include Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta and the direction and design of Tristan und Isolde for The Dallas Opera, Verdi’s rarely-performed comic opera Un Giorno di Regno (King for a Day) for the Glimmerglass Festival, Falstaff at Washington National Opera, Roméo et Juliette at Houston Grand Opera, Fidelio and Luisa Miller at The Dallas Opera, Die Zauberflöte at Cairo Opera House and Carmen at the Grand Théâtre de Genève.
Christian enjoys an ongoing collaboration with director Laurent Pelly; he has been associate and revival director for many of his productions, including Cosí fan tutte, Falstaff, Barbe bleue, Viva la Mamma!, Le Coq d’Or, Le Roi Carotte, Le Comte Ory, La fille du régiment, Manon, Les Contes d’Hoffmann, La traviata, La vie parisienne, La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein and L’elisir d’amore.
He has also enjoyed collaborations with Robert Carsen and Francesco Zambella. Projects with Carsen include Tchaikovsky’s Pique Dame (Opernhaus Zürich, Opéra national du Rhin), as well as Il trovatore in Bregenz, Mitridate in Brussels, Ariadne auf Naxos at Deutsche Oper Berlin/Det Kongelige Teater Copenhagen and JJR – Citoyen de Genève in Geneva. Christian was Senior Associate Director for Zambello’s complete Ring for San Francisco Opera, in co-production with Washington National Opera. Other productions with Zambello include Billy Budd (Opéra national de Paris, Royal Opera House, London) Salome (Saito Kinen), West Side Story, Of Mice and Men (Bregenz, Washington, Houston).
Christian Räth obtained a master’s degree in Musiktheater-Regie from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg. He studied musicology, literature and psychology at the University of Hamburg, and participated in masterclasses on opera directing with Harry Kupfer. In 1995 he was invited to join the Grand Théâtre de Genève, where he held the position of Staff Director until 2001.