Presse Introducing the Final Teams

Introducing the Final Teams

The 3 Final Teams of the RING AWARD 20 are:

(in alphabetical order)

Team Alicia Geugelin (DEU) / Christin Schumann (DEU) / Pia Preuß (DEU) / Elise Schobeß (DEU)
Team Krystian Lada (POL) / Didzis Jaunzems (LVA) / Natalia Kitamikado (POL)
Team Anika Rutkofsky (DEU) / Eleni Konstantatou (GRC) / Johanna Danhauser (DEU)

Winner of the Audience Award, sponsored by WAGNER FORUM GRAZ, is:

Team Jasmin Sarah Zamani (AUT) / Stefan Czura (DEU) / Linda Hofmann (DEU)

Stay tuned for more information on the Semifinal …

The RING AWARD 20 FINAL takes place from 27 – 28 June 2020 at Schauspielhaus Graz / Austria.

You can find photos in press quality here (credit (c) Susanne Hassler).

More Information:


The RING AWARD is the foremost international competition for stage direction and stage design in musical theatre. It offers emerging, not yet securely established stage directors and designers a professional platform for planning and realizing actual theatre performances and awards prizes to them for outstanding achievements in their work. In its nine editions so far 1565 participants from 53 countries have participated.

The RING AWARD is still the only institution of its kind setting the task of reflecting most recent developments in the staging of works for the musical theatre. It gives young artists a chance of finding international resonance for their ideas of what contemporary musical theatre should be like.

The RING AWARD is held in three-year intervals in Graz/Austria. It is organized in three stages, its unique feature being actual stage performances at the finals.

Stepping Stone for Young Artists

Ever since its first competition in 1997 the RING AWARD has established itself as an international stepping stone for young talents in the musical theatre. Among the well-known winners are David Hermann, Isabel Ostermann, or Tatjana Gürbaca. Recently the RING AWARD 17 winners Valentin Schwarz und Andrea Cozzi made headlines when it was announced that they will work on a new production of the “Ring of the Nibelung” for the Bayreuth Festival in 2020. In this they follow the example of the RING AWARD 08 winners Tobias Kratzer und Rainer Sellmaier, who opened the Bayreuth Festival season of 2019 with their new production of “Tannhäuser”.


25 Years of RING AWARD

The foundation of the Wagner Forum Graz in 1995 marks also the birth of the RING AWARD Competition. To promote young talents the RING AWARD was forged by Heinz Weyringer, who is now, with the RING AWARD 20, leading the competition into its successful 25th year.



GET IN THE RING – a record number of 126 teams with 326 participants from 32 nations followed our call and submitted their stage direction and stage design concepts for the competition opera “Don Giovanni” is autumn 2019. The RING AWARD jury, consisting of renowned Intendants and experts of musical theatre from all over Europe, travelled to Graz for the 1st round of the competition in September 2019 to judge all submissions at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria. They nominated 9 teams for the semifinal.

The 9 Semifinal Teams of the RING AWARD 20 (in alphabetical order):

  1. Team Mien Bogaert (BEL) / Dennis Peschke (DEU)
  2. Team Tristan Braun (DEU) / Christian Blechschmidt (DEU) / Adrian Stapf (DEU)
  3. Team Alicia Geugelin (DEU) / Christin Schumann (DEU) / Pia Preuß (DEU) / Elise Schobeß (DEU)
  4. Team Krystian Lada (POL) / Didzis Jaunzems (LVA) / Natalia Kitamikado (POL)
  5. Team Olga Poliakova (ROU/BLR) / Emilie Delanne (FRA) / AmelieLauret (FRA) / Hélène Vergnes (FRA)
  6. Team Rafael Rodriguez Villalobos (ESP) / Emanuele Sinisi (ITA)
  7. Team Nina Russi (CHE) / Julia Katharina Berndt (DEU)
  8. Team Anika Rutkofsky (DEU) / Eleni Konstantatou (GRC) / Johanna Danhauser
  9. Team Jasmin Sarah Zamani (AUT) / Stefan Czura (DEU) / Linda Hofmann (DEU)

RING AWARD 20 Semifinal: 26 participants / 16 woman and 10 men / 11 nations:   Germany (13), France (3) Poland (2) , Austria (1), Belgium (1), Greece (1), Italy (1), Latvia (1), Romania (1), Spain (1), and Switzerland (1).

The 9 semifinal teams had time until January 9, 2020 to get ready for ROUND 2. They held probational rehearsals, concept talks and completed a feasibility study in front of the jury from January 9-10. Then a public concept presentation in font of jury and audiences took place on January 11 at Next Liberty Theater, Graz. The audience could also view nine detailed set design models with costume sketches for “Don Giovanni” up close and ask the teams questions regarding their concepts: a look behind the scenes of the development of an opera production.

The RING AWARD Jury finally nominated three teams for ROUND 3 – the RING AWARD 20 Final – on January 27 & 28 2020 at Schauspielhaus Graz.

Let’s introduce the 3 Final Teams (in alphabetical order):

Team Alicia Geugelin (DEU) / Christin Schumann (DEU) / Pia Preuß (DEU) / Elise Schobeß (DEU)

Team Krystian Lada (POL) / Didzis Jaunzems (LVA) / Natalia Kitamikado (POL)

Team Anika Rutkofsky (DEU) / Eleni Konstantatou (GRC) / Johanna Danhauser (DEU)

This means the RING AWARD Final will have 10 participants, 8 woman and 2 men from 4 nations:  Germany (6), Poland (2), Greece (1), Latvia (1)

Winners of the Audience Award (EUR 1.000,-), sponsored by WAGNER FORUM GRAZ, is

Team Jasmin Sarah Zamani (AUT) / Stefan Czura (DEU) / Linda Hofmann (DEU)


Hard Facts of the RING AWARD 20

  • 9th International Competition for Stage Direction and Design
  • 126 teams / 326 participants / 32 nations from 5 continents
  • 9 semifinal-teams (26 participants from 11 nations)
  • Semifinal at Next Liberty: probational rehearsals,& concept talks in front of jury, multimedia presentations in front of jury and audiences, set design models, costume sketches
  • 3 final teams (10 participants from 4 nations)
  • Competition Final at Schauspielhaus Graz: 3 premieres in 24 hours, Speakers’ Corner
  • Jury: renowned European intendants and experts in musical theatre (see below)
  • Total amount of cash flow: EUR 52.500



  1. Ole Wiggo Bang, Intendant, Wermland Opera, Karlstad
  2. Valérie Chevalier, Directrice Générale, Opéra Orchestre National Montpellier
  3. Peter de Caluwe, Directeur Général, La Monnaie / De Munt, Bruxelles
  4. Heribert Germeshausen, Intendant, Oper Dortmund
  5. Roland Geyer, Intendant, Theater an der Wien
  6. Per Boye Hansen, Administrative Director, National Theatre Prag
  7. Stefan Herheim, Stage Director, design. Intendant Theater an der Wien
  8. Eva Kleinitz †, Generalintendantin, Opéra National du Rhin, Strasbourg
  9. Iris Laufenberg, Intendant, Schauspielhaus Graz, Chair
  10. Nora Schmid, Intendantin, Oper Graz, Chair
  11. Dietmar Schwarz, Intendant, Deutsche Oper Berlin
  12. Peter Spuhler, Generalintendant, Staatstheater Karlsruhe
  13. Katrin Lea Tag, Set and Costume Designer
  14. Peter Theiler, Intendant, Semperoper Dresden
  15. Albrecht Thiemann, “Opernwelt”
  16. Jan Vandenhouwe, Intendant, Opera Vlaanderen, Antwerpen
  17. Reinhard von der Thannen, Set and Costume Designer
  18. Benedikt von Peter, Intendant Luzerner Theater, Stage Director, design. Intendant, Theater Basel


Competition Opera

DON GIOVANNI by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Mozart’s masterpiece “Don Giovanni” is one of the most multifaceted works of opera literature and marks the summit in Mozart’s operatic oeuvre. The dramma giocoso is simultaneously comedy and tragedy, moritat and cloak-and-dagger piece, closely linked to its time of origin and yet timeless. With “Don Giovanni” Mozart created an unrivalled monument to the motif of Don Juan, the charming but unscrupulous seducer of women. The opera with the Italian libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte was first performed in Prague on 29 October 1787.


Don Giovanni’s last amorous adventures all fail: The nightly visit to Donna Anna, the Commendatore’s daughter, ends deadly for the father. Donna Elvira, former lover of Don Giovanni, follows him with bitter accusations. The attempt to steal the peasant girl Zerlina from her Masetto on her very wedding day is also unsuccessful. Don Giovanni himself does not even shy away from inviting the statue of the murdered Commendatore to dinner. He cannot help but ignore the urgent warnings to reconsider his life and thus seals his fate.


Prizes awarded at the RING AWARD 20


  • Audience Award: EUR 1.000

Competition Final:

  • Main Prize “RING AWARD“: a stage production with stage design at one of the stages of Bühnen Graz, donated by Oper Graz
  • Prize of the City of Graz: EUR 3.000
  • Prize of the Province of Styria: EUR 3.000

Traditionally, additional special prizes for stage productions with stage designs are awarded by several theatres and opera houses.

Photos (c) Susanne Hassler