News – Ring Award

“The Rhinegold”

Congratulations to Verena Stoiber and Sophia Schneider – winners of RING AWARD 14 – on their excellent production of “The Rhinegold” as the kick-off of an all-female-directed “Ring of the Nibelung”-tetralogy at Theater Chemnitz. Here are some excerpts from the numerous enthusiastic reviews:

“When he [Alberich] bloodily cuts off the three girls’ golden curls at the end of the scene and leaves them ashamed and twisted with pain, the evil of the tetralogy begins: with the theft of the rhinegold, here portrayed as the robbery of womanhood and innocence. Director Verena Stoiber and designer Sophia Schneider have found a fascinating setting for the first scene of “The Rhinegold” – a successful starting signal for the new Chemnitz production of Wagner’s “Ring of the Nibelung”.
[…] Everything is wittily staged, with everyone fighting their own weaknesses and jealousies; Verena Stoiber shows clear characterizations, interspersed with all kinds of anecdotes.”
Die Deutsche Bühne, Ulrike Kolter

“I have not seen such a well-conceived, shrewd and sophisticated “Rhinegold“ as Verena Stoiber’s in a long time. Stoiber’s view is psychologically alert and deeply thought-out, but also political.”
Frankfurter Rundschau, Judith von Sternburg


Opening & Announcement

The projected RING AWARD 20 will be kicked off with an opening event in November 2018. There our next international competition for stage direction and design in the musical theatre will be officially announced, including the competition opera and the conditions for participation/submission. From this moment on entries will be accepted. Registration and submission deadline will be in August 2019. The semifinal-teams will be announced in September 2019.


Early in January 2020 the semifinal-teams will present their concepts to the public and the members of the international jury at Next Liberty, and nominations for the final will be announced.


End of June 2020 the RING AWARD 20 final will take place at Schauspielhaus Graz – three entirely different conceptions of one and the same opera performed in 24 hours! Jury and audience will root for their favourites. The winning team will be awarded a stage production with stage design by Nora Schmid (Oper Graz). Further prizes for productions at international opera houses may be awarded by members of the jury.

More information regarding RA 20 registration and procedures will be posted shorty on this website.

International Opera Awards

RING AWARD winners nominated for the International Opera Awards

Once again the RING AWARD proves to be a prestigious stepping stone for international careers in the musical theatre. Three RING AWARD winners are among the finalists at the International Opera Awards 2018! A distinguished jury, chaired by John Allison, editor in chief of “Opera Magazine” and music critic for “The Daily Telegraph”, has chosen the finalists among thousands of entries from six continents.

Nominated in the category „Director“:

David Hermann (RING AWARD 2000 winner)

Tobias Kratzer (RING AWARD 2008 winner)

Nominated in the category „Newcomer“:

Barbora Horáková Joly (RING AWARD 2017 winner of the “Prize of the City of Graz”)

The award winners will be announced in April 2018, at a red carpet event in the London Coliseum.


Website International Opera Awards

opera awards


More RING AWARD prizes

Additional Prizes

Additional prizes of offers for stage productions are awarded by the following theatres and operas:

Semperoper Dresden prize, awarded by the designated director, Peter Theiler
Team B: Barbora Horáková Joly (CZ) / Cornelia Schmidt (D)

Two Theater an der Wien prizes, awarded by the director, Roland Geyer
Team C: Valentin Schwarz (A) / Andrea Cozzi (I)
Stage director Sergei Morozov (RUS), Team A

Staatstheater Cottbus prize, awarded by the director, Martin Schüler
Team C: Valentin Schwarz (A) / Andrea Cozzi (I)

Opéra et Orchestre National Montpellier prize, awarded by the director, Valérie Chevalier
Team C: Valentin Schwarz (A) / Andrea Cozzi (I)

Deutscher Oper Berlin prize, awarded by the director, Dietmar Schwarz
Semifinal-Team: Wolfgang Nägele (D) / Hannah König (A) / Isabelle Bischof (CH)

Operá de Lyon prize, awarded by the director, Serge Dorny
Serge Dorny
Team B: Barbora Horáková Joly (CZ) / Cornelia Schmidt (D) 

Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe prize, awarded by the director, Peter Spuhler
Team C: Valentin Schwarz (A) / Andrea Cozzi (I)

Winners 2017

The Award Winners 2017

"RING AWARD 2017 – Province of Styria Prize"
€3,000, including an offer from OPER GRAZ for a stage production with stage design at one of the stages of Bühnen Graz, decided by the RING AWARD Jury
Team C: Valentin Schwarz (A) / Andrea Cozzi (I)

From the RING AWARD Jury statement, Chair Nora Schmid
“The vote of the RING AWARD Jury was unanimous: our winning team is Team C, Valentin Schwarz and Andrea Cozzi. There were many reasons for choosing this team. The cabinet of wonders, which they created as a set for their adaption of “Don Pasquale”, their historically reflective approach, the colliding worlds, and finally the slapstick all combined to convince us. I smiled and laughed a lot and won’t forget the rhinoceros, with Norina on its back, being pulled across the stage any time soon. I am looking forward to interesting discussions and to finding a piece fitting their production at Oper Graz.”

"City of Graz Prize"
€3,000, decided by the Theatre Jury
Team B: Barbora Horáková Joly (CZ) / Cornelia Schmidt (D)

From the Theatre Jury statement, Chair Irish Laufenberg
“The Theatre Jury has selected Team B, Barbora Horáková Joly and Cornelia Schmidt. With their interpretation of the first act of “Don Pasquale” they managed to implement a concept which is subtly contemporary as well as culturally and politically sensitive, but nevertheless able to revive elements of the commedia dell’arte. Furthermore, they convinced us with minutely detailed stage direction and a keen ear for Donizetti’s musical structure.”

Recognition Free
€7,000, for each of the three finals teams

Tag 1: RING AWARD Finale 2017

Tag 1 des FINALE des RING AWARD 2017 und Verleihung des zweiten MORTIER AWARD an Markus Hinterhäuser hieß es am Samstag, den 24. Juni, im Schauspielhaus Graz. Im Jahr seines 20jährigen Bestehens und in der inzwischen 8. Ausgabe des internationalen Wettbewerbes für Regie und Bühnengestaltung findet auch 2017 in zweitägiges FINALE im Schauspielhaus statt, in dem drei jungen Regie-Teams ihre Version des 1. Aktes einer der Wettbewerbsoper (2017: "Don Pasquale") zwei hochkarätig besetzen Jurys, Publikum und Presse präsentieren. Fotos: Lupi Spuma.


Markus Hinterhäuser is the second recipient of the MORTIER AWARD

MARKUS HINTERHÄUSER, pianist and artistic director of the Salzburg Festival, is the second recipient of the MORTIER AWARD for music theatre. The Award, a bronze sculpture of Sisyphus, created by Berlin artist Alexander Polzin, will be presented to him at Graz Schauspielhaus on June 24, 2017. The American stage director PETER SELLARS will give the laudatory speech.

Markus Hinterhäuser won acclaim not only as a distinguished explorer of modern piano works and sensitive accompanist of lied singers but also as an innovative initiator and curator of highly successful music programmes. Encouraged by Gerard Mortier, then Artistic Director of the Salzburg Festival, he organized (along with Thomas Zierhofer-Kin) the “Zeitfluss” concert series (1993-2000). Starting in 2007 he curated the complete concert programmes, in 2011 he was interim Artistic Director of the Salzburg Festival. Following a three-year-intermezzo as Artistic Director of the Wiener Festwochen, he is now Intendant of the Salzburg Summer Festival.

Markus Hinterhäuser is an artist impresario who, with his intellectual intuition, manages time and again to explore uncharted terrain for the eye and the ear. Like Gerard Mortier, his first mentor, he is a sharp-minded dreamer who believes firmly in the humanistic power of the arts. Relaxed curiosity, smiling enthusiasm, uncompromised competence, open dialogue – with these features he has been winning over artists and audience alike.

The MORTIER AWARD honours personalities who are devoted in an exemplary way to a form of music theatre that is in touch with our times.

In addition to the MORTIER AWARD, a new YOUNG ARTIST AWARD is to be presented every two years to an emerging artist. The YOUNG ARTIST AWARD involves a scholarship financed by donors and sponsors. It is aimed at newcomers who, following Gerard Mortier’s example, are devoted to historically informed innovations in opera.

Introducing to you: the RING AWARD jury

Who will be the winner of the RING AWARD? The RING AWARD jury decides on that as well as on the Prize of the Province of Styria. Nora Schmid has taken over the chair of the RING AWARD jury. She studied in her home city, Berne, and in Rome. After that she gained first stage experiences in classical singing and was a music theatre dramaturg at various theatres. From the season 2015/16 Nora Schmid has been Intendant of Oper Graz.

Peter de Caluwe is Directeur Général at Théâtre royal de la Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels. He started his theatre-career in the field of public relations (e.g. with Gerard Mortier). Later he became the director of artistic administration at Netherlands’ Opera in Amsterdam and in 2005 Peter de Caluwe was appointed General Manager of La Monnaie|de Munt.

Another jury member is Serge Dorny. He is the Directeur Général of Opéra de Lyon. Dorny studied in Gent and worked for several years as music dramaturge under Gerard Mortier afterwards. 1989 he became Artist Director of the Flandern Festival. In 1996, he took up the position of Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and since 2003 he has been General Director of the Lyon National Opera House.

Roland Geyer, who is the Intendant of Theater an der Wien, studied mathematical economics and cultural management. He worked for several years as an IT analyst and later founded and led various festivals. From 2006 he has been Intendant of Theater an der Wien.

The stage director Peter Konwitschny has been staging productions in all German-speaking countries since 1980. He interpreted Handel’s and Wagner’s operas innovatively and won various prizes and awards e. g. he was five times honoured as “Stage Director of the Year”.

Another jury member is Dietmar Schwarz, the Intendant of Deutsche Oper Berlin. He studied in Berlin and Paris and started his theatre-career as a dramaturg. Later he was Opera Director in Mannheim and Basel and from 2012 he has been Intendant in Berlin.

Peter Spuhler is Generalintendant of Staatstheater Karlsruhe. He studied in Vienna and worked as a stage director and dramaturg. He has already been Intendant in Tübingen/Treutlingen and Heidelberg. With the season 2011/12 he became Generalintendant in Karlsruhe.

The stage designer Katrin Lea Tag was the winner of the very first RING AWARD competition. After she finished her studies, she has been working all over the world – from German-speaking countries to London and Los Angeles.

Albrecht Thiemann is an editor of the opera-journal “Opernwelt”. He first studied church music and worked as an organist. Later he assisted at a Jewish Human Rights Organisation in New York City, taught at several universities and wrote texts as a free-lance cultural journalist. In 2004 he started working at “Opernwelt”.

The Intendant of Oper Stuttgart is also part of the jury: Jossi Wieler studied in Tel Aviv. He started working as a stage director and won several prizes e. g. the German theatre-price DER FAUST. Since 2011/12 Jossi Wieler has been Intendant of Oper Stuttgart.

Katrin Lea Tag: First winner of RING AWARD and now jury member!

Katrin Lea Tag was still studying when she took part in the very first RING AWARD competition. And: Together with director Holge Müller Brandes she won! After that she startet an international career as a costume and set designer. Katrin Lea Tag has worked all over the world – from German-speaking countries to London and Los Angeles. She staged many productions toghether with the directors Dimiter Gotscheff, Michael Thalheimer, Barrie Kosky, Hans Neuenfels und Christiane Pohle. You can see her design: „Adriane auf Naxos“ at Staatsoper am Schillerplatz, „Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald“ at Deutsches Theater, „Carmen“ at Oper Frankfurt, oder premiering in june „Ödipus – vor der Stadt“ at Schauspiel Frankfurt. This year she is a RING AWARD jury member.

And the three teams in the RING AWARD FINAL are…

It was a long day but now it’s done – tonight, on the Next Liberty stage, three teams have been nominated to compete in the final of the RING AWARD 2017 in June. We congratulate the following winners:

Barbora Horáková Joly (CZ) / Cornelia Schmidt (D) 

Sergei Morozov  (RUS) / Aleksandra Alekseeva (RUS) 

Valentin Schwarz (A) / Andrea Cozzi (I)    

The audience prize goes:

Valentin Schwarz (A) / Andrea Cozzi (I)  

A big thank you to all who have helped us and to the team of Next Liberty, who have strongly supported us and made the semi-final weekend into an amazing event!

And now it’s time for more celebrating before we will start our preparations for the RING AWARD on Tour in Styria – more info to come soon on our website or right here on Facebook.

The first day is over – tomorrow is all about who makes it to the final!

 The first day of the semi-final weekend is over, tomorrow the teams will have to give their very best – in front of the RING AWARD jury and in front of the interested audience (entrance is free!).

In the evening the nominations for the final in June will be announced.

Do you have a favourite team? You, dear audience, can also cast your vote on Saturday, January 14th, and thus decide who will get the audience prize! So, ready, steady, go!

There can only be three: the countdown has started!


Suitcases are packed, set design models safely stored – within the next few hours the 11 teams of our semi-finalists 2017 will arrive.

Since 1997, more than 1200 people from 59 nations have participated in the triennial RING AWARD and have competed to be commissioned for a production at one of the stages of Bühnen Graz. Many of them now work successfully in the musical theatre – among the former finalists and awardees are Isabella Ostermann, Tatjana Gürbaca, Vera Nemirova, David Hermann, Tobias Kratzer, or Michael Schilhan, to name but a few.

The semi-final teams will receive a recognition fee and have the opportunity to get the audience prize, and of course one of the three nominations for the final at Schauspielhaus Graz in June 2017.

To be in the semi-final is already quite an achievement. In 2017, almost 100 talented young teams have participated, and only 11 were short-listed. A big hand for all the submitting teams, and especially for those 11 teams that made it to the semi-final! We are looking forward to meeting you and to your presentations on January 14th, starting at 10:30 am at the Next Liberty in Graz!

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