Every singer, every instrumentalist can audition or get qualified through a competition. But how does this work for directors? They only get hired when one has seen one of their succesful production. But what about those who did not get the chance to prove their talent through their own productions yet?
Non-profit association Camerata Nuova e.V. in Wiesbaden (Germany) introduced the European Opera-directing Prize (EOP) as a solution to this problem. The winner will have his concept produced and will receive a reward of 30.000 Euro. It is currently the only big competition for opera directors in Germany.
In 2001, the EOP was organised for the first time with Klaus Zehelein as president of the jury. Camerata Nuova sets up an EOP every two years, in collaboration with a European opera house and Opera Europa, an association of more than 150 European opera houses, festivals and cultural institutions.
The competition will not take place in a vacuum. Participants must submit a producing and layout concept for a given work of operatic literature. The technical and human resources of the collaborating opera house, which will host the winning production, have to be taken into account. This means that the concepts have to be feasable. This is an important criteria to help the jury determine the four finalists teams.
Since 2009, the final takes place during the major biennal conference of Opera Europa, in an operatic capital of Europe. There, the young directors must prove that they are capable of leading an ensemble of singers. They must rehearse a given opera scene with their own concept in front of the jury of renowned directors. For the young directors, this is a unique opportunity to present themselves in a way that is not possible in the daily life of opera houses.
With the EOP, Camerata Nuova is without a doubt on the right track. Many winners of previous years are now successful directors, set and costume designers, and this worldwide.
The EOP is supported by the Chief of the Hessian State Wiesbaden, State Minister Axel Wintermeyer.
"It’s not just the idea, that makes this competition so special. It is also the international network (...), the contact with opera companies and directors Europe-wide, that made this prize become a reality."
(State Minister Axel Wintermeyer, Sponsor of the EOP)