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News – Ring Award 2014


“If they don’t have a conflict in their faces they are dead.”

The young puppet artist and stage director Nikolaus Habjan’s production at the Vienna Schuberttheater of F. ZAWREL – GENETICALLY AND SOCIALLY INFERIOR very movingly revived the gripping authentic story of Friedrich Zawrel, who during the time of the Nazis was able to flee from the Vienna hospital ‘Am Spiegelgrund’ and later in life had to meet again his former torturer. For this production Habjan received the Nestroy Theatre Award 2013 (Best Off-Production). He now returns to Graz and stages Albert Camus‘ drama THE MISSUNDERSTANDING at the Schauspielhaus, a tragedy of fate reminiscent of classical antiquity in its stature; it was the all-round artist himself who created the puppets for this production. At the big RING AWARD prize-giving ceremony in June 2014 Graz audiences were already able to experience Nikolaus Habjan and his eccentric puppet miming the once highly-acclaimed opera diva Gisela Hering. And now, from 17 October, the Styrian artist together with two actors from the Graz ensemble will perform at the Schauspielhaus Rehearsal Stage.

Why Nikolaus Habjan when creating his unique puppets always has a ‘conflict in their faces’ in mind, you can find out HERE!



Political prisoners, a corrupt and degenerated society placed in a fiction eastern Germany some day before the wall colapses: that’s FIDELIO directed by the RING AWARD finalist Dan Turdén at the Årsta Folkets Hus.

“Dan Turdén’s direction makes the story clearer, without any extravagances. Using army clothing around a working desk, the methods of power are portrayed.”

 ”In this select and effective performance, Rocco and Pizarro make the greatest impression of how power finds impersonation. … Rocco, captured in a cruel hierarchy, gives a strongly individualized picture of the multi-layered anatomy of dictatorship.”

 ”However small the format of the production is, the music of Beethoven never loses its power. The same can be said about the performance: it is larger than its format.” by Claes Wahlin, Aftonbladet

“Few operas benefit as much from shifts of time and place as Fidelio, and I can very well imagine how positive Beethoven would have been about the idea of letting the story take place during the last days of the Berlin wall.”

“Dan Turdén is a confident stage director …”

“Briliant vocal achievments…” by Lars Sjöberg, Expressen

“This performance of Fidelio is one for the ironic generation where all nobility, that usually characterizes the work, is filtered through a distanced and excessive style of performance …”

“The minister, who in the final scene makes a kind of divine intervention, here quite cleverly appears in a television broadcast … (and) authoritatively declares that the wall has fallen. The prison’s officials immediately begin to destroy all documents.”

“The performance is carried by very skilled singers…” by Bo Löfvendahl, Svenska Dagbladet

Hommage à Gerard Mortier

The magazine Opernwelt and the Ring Award (international competition for stage direction and design) have jointly established a new prize for music theatre – the Mortier Award. The prize is named after the Belgian opera and festival director Gerard Mortier, who died on 9 March 2014 at the age of 70. The name-giver, who is also the first winner of the prize, received the honour posthumously.

The presentation of the first Mortier Award took place on 31 May 2014 at the 7th “Ring Award” finals in Graz. The film director and Oscar prizewinner Michael Haneke delivered the eulogy. The conductor Sylvain Cambreling, Mortier’s long-time companion and confidant, accepted a sculpture made for the Mortier Award by the Berlin sculptor and set designer Alexander Polzin, who recently created the set design for “Lohengrin” at the Teatro Real Madrid – commissioned while Mortier was still in charge of the Teatro Real. The sculpture shows Sisyphus with his boulder.

The Mortier Award aims to honour the ideas and impulses provided by this innovator and pioneer, for whom music theatre was both a human cosmos, and a vital art form revolving around fundamental issues of human existence. Gerard Mortier’s thoughts and actions were always inspired by his belief in the modern relevance of opera – a belief that also profoundly vitalised the music theatre scene.



The Styrian designer Nikolaus Webern, who won the ring.award.off 2011, follows the traces of Jean Cocteau and on the stage of Komische Oper Berlin creates for LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES a magical world of fantasy far beyond reality. Felix Seiler, who showed his talents as a semifinalist at RING AWARD 11, is the stage director of this “dance opera”, in which audience and actors share an almost empty stage. In the mysterious atmosphere of this exceptional location they experience Jean Cocteau’s enigmatic and dreamlike story in a musical version by the famous American composer Philip Glass.

In LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES the creative power of the imagination possesses an almost destructive character, as inevitable as the incessantly forward moving and at no moment resting music for four singers, one actor and three pianos.

Opening night is on 2 July, 2014. 


Get an exclusive peek behind the RING AWARD and listen to what the participants have to say about their adventure.

Gewinner RA14

and the winner is …

We take great pleasure in announcing the winners of RING AWARD 14:         

All major prizes of this International Competition for Stage Direction and Design went to director Verena Stoiber (Germany) and designer Sophia Schneider (Germany). They received the >RING AWARD< (offer of a production at one of the theatre locations in Graz), the prize of the Province of Styria (3000 EUR) and the prize of the City of Graz (3000 EUR).

In addition, this team won special prizes of the following leading opera houses, presented by the respective intendants:

Deutsche Oper Berlin, Intendant Dietmar Schwarz

Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Intendant Peter Spuhler

Staatstheater Nürnberg, Intendant Peter Theiler

Find impressions of the productions HERE  
Find more information on the prizes HERE

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