Michael Boder was Musical Director of the Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona 2008-2012. Among many highlights during his tenure, in 2012 he was honoured with the Spanish critics’ award for Le Grand Macabre, and a Grammy nomination for Lulu. He took up his current position as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor at the Royal Danish Theatre and Orchestra in September 2012, as a result of several highly successful guest productions there, notably of Die Frau ohne Schatten.
He studied at Hamburg Conservatoire and in Florence, and went on to be Michael Gielen’s assistant at Oper Frankfurt. At the age of 29, he was appointed General Music Director of the Basler Theater, where he conducted a great number of productions, including a cycle of Mozart’s Da Ponte operas directed by Herbert Wernicke. In the same period, he also conducted at the opera houses in Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Zurich and London, focussing on repertoire by Verdi and Puccini.
In 1996, Michael Boder gave his début at the Wiener Staatsoper with a revival of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck. This was followed by performances of Die Frau ohne Schatten, Elektra and Die Meistersinger; new productions of Lulu‚ Jakobsleiter and Gianni Schichi; and world premieres of Der Riese vom Steinfeld by Friedrich Cerha and Medea by Aribert Reimann, all at the Wiener Staatsoper.
During this period, Michael Boder conducted a large number of new productions, including Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Semperoper Dresden (where he also conducted Der Rosenkavalier, Elektra and Die Frau ohne Schatten); Lulu at the Nationaltheater in Munich; Fidelio and Der fliegende Holländer at the National Theatre in Tokyo; Wozzeck, Der fliegende Holländer and Wagner’s Ring Cycle in San Francisco; Aus einem Totenhaus in Cologne; and Chowantschina, Salome, Parsifal and Le Grand Macabre in Barcelona. In 2009, he conducted Willy Decker‘s new production of Moses and Aaron at the Ruhrtriennale in Bochum.
Alongside repertoire by the Second Viennese School and by Strauss and Wagner, Boder is greatly involved in contemporary opera. He has conducted a large number of world premières, including Das Schloss by Aribert Reimann (Deutsche Oper Berlin), Ubu Rex by Christof Penderecki and Was Ihr wollt by Manfred Trohjahn (Nationaltheater Munich), Faust by Luca Lombardi (Theater Basel), Der Riese vom Steinfeld by Friedrich Cerha (Staatsoper Wien), Phaedra by Hans-Werner Henze, and Faustus - the last night by Pascal Dusapin (Staatsoper Berlin unter den Linden). Most recently, he conducted Aribert Reimann‘s Medea and Enescu’s Oedipe at the Wiener Staatsoper.
Recent and future opera engagements include Le Grand Macabre and Pelleas et Melisande in Barcelona, Die Frau ohne Schatten at Royal Danish Opera, Manon Lescaut at Oper Graz, Tri Sestri (Peter Eötvös) at Opernhaus Zurich, and The Fairy Queen (arr. Hermut Oehring) at Staatsoper Berlin. In future seasons, Michael Boder will also return to Wiener Staatsoper and Theater an der Wien.
Michael Boder is also a well established orchestral conductor. Alongside his concert performances in Barcelona, he works regularly with such ensembles as Berliner Philharmoniker, Königlichen Kapelle Kopenhagen, Gulbenkian Orchester in Lisbon, Ensemble Modern, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Saitokinen Festival Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming engagements include orchestral performances in Berlin,Vienna, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Rome and Tokyo.
Michael Boder is represented by Intermusica.
April 2013 / 535 words. Not to be altered without permission. Please destroy all previous biographical material.
Strauss Die frau ohne Schatten / Royal Danish Orchestra
“He conducted a scintillating Die frau ohne Schatten”
Andrew Mellor, Gramophone, April 2013
Peter Eötvös Drei Schwestern / Opernhaus Zurich
“The chamber orchestra was situated in the pit, under the baton of Michael Boder, and played with sensitivity, a wonderful clarity of tone (...) and with a discretion that was most respectful of the singers.”
Oper Aktuell, March 2013
“Michael Boder had clearly devoted much time to Eötvös’ melancholy music, which circled around itself before crumbling into pieces – but which could also become restless and troubled at times, for example when Andrej’s wife Natascha appeared on stage, or when talk turned to the town fire.”
Badische Zeitung, March 2013
“Eötvös’ music, written just after his son had committed suicide, has never been so clearly about partings, pain and mourning as it was in this production in Zurich. This was largely down to the sensitive precision with which Michael Boder meshed his 19 musicians in the orchestra pit together with Peter Sommerer’s 50 musicians on stage, and with the excellent protagonists.”
Taz.de, March 2013
“In the orchestra pit, Michael Boder endowed Eötvös’ sound fantasies with an exquisite, unobtrusive eloquence.”
Die Zeit, March 2013
“The ecstatic sound world produced by Boder created an almost hypnotic vortex.”
Die Welt, March 2013
Grazer Philharmonische Orchester / Ives, Ravel & Gershwin
“Michael Boder steered the Graz Philharmonic Orchestra through difficult musical waters with his unambiguous conducting. His clear, controlled beat was indicative of his interpretational approach: the conductor placed great value on precision and care over the details, and elucidated the structure and architecture of the pieces he conducted, without reducing them to their bare bones (…) The Graz Philharmonic Orchestra were adaptable and reactive, showing themselves in their best light in their solo excursion in Charles Ives’ ‘Three Places in New England’ and in Maurice Ravel’s second ‘Daphnis et Chloé’ suite (with chorus), and played with a highly polished tone throughout the evening.”
Kleine Zeitung, September 2012
Staatskapelle Weimar / Mahler, Ravel & Zimmermann / Kunstfest Weimar
“(In Mahler’s 1st Symphony), Michael Boder proved his masterly skill in shaping transitions, leading the Staatskapelle from calm and leisurely passages through to the stormy and turbulent, with an exemplary grasp of the overall shape, and a definite feel for the finest of nuances.”
Thüringer Allgemeine, September 2012
Berg Lulu / Gran Teatro del Liceu
Deutsche Grammophon DVD DG: 0734637
“Boder elevates Berg’s tormented lyricism, gives ample space to the architecture of the three acts, and doesn’t for one moment neglect the precision of the performance. This is a most inspired interpretation.”
Diapason, December 2011
Kungliga Hovkapellet / Konserthuset, Stockholm / Wagner & Ligeti
“He fully justified the ovations, not only thanks to his sense of nuance, but also for his ability to shape this disparate orchestra into a full-bodied whole. This was as good as it gets.”
Dagens Nyheter, October 2011
Tchaikovsky Pique Dame / Gran Teatre del Liceu
“From a musical point of view, the work of the theatre’s more and more highly appreciated musical director, Michael Boder, must be emphasized. He offered a vibrant and sumptuous reading of one of Tchaikovsky’s most successful works, conducting a compact and balanced Liceo Symphony Orchestra.”
La Razon, June 2010
“The winner at the Liceo is Michael Boder who, treating with an appropriately light touch the Constumbrismo in certain scenes or the homage to Mozart fully exploited the turbulence of the Tchaikovsky score for which he showed with his performance an affection which is worthy of gratitude. Austere, no doubt, but the only straight road is that of quality.”
Avui, June 2010
Strauss Der Rosenkavalier / Gran Teatre del Liceu
“The theatre’s musical director Michael Boder was the star of this performance of Der Rosenkavalier, (this was) a carefully studied version, with the orchestra playing to a much higher standard than usual, making a refined and homogenous sound. Making the necessary contrasts between comedy and moments of tension, Boder successfully highlighted the Viennese style, creating transparency and emphasizing the subtleties of the most delicate moments, without the volume of the orchestra becoming excessive. This brings hope for the future of the orchestra.”
El Mundo, May 2010
Strauss Salome / Deutsche Oper am Rhein
“The main role in Richard Strauss’ operas secretly belongs to the orchestra, and under Strauss specialist Michael Boder, the Duisberg Philharmonic – already a technically precise ensemble – surpassed themselves. The bubbling, sparkling clarinet melody with which this one-act opera began took my breath away. Despite the tremendous opulence which Boder brought to the score, he also achieved a translucency which allowed the beauty of the instrumentation to unfold in all its fascinating nuances, and plumbed the depths of this picturesque portrayal in a blaze of jewel-like colours.”
Der Neue Merker, September 2009
Schoenberg Moses und Aron / Bochumer Symphoniker / Ruhrtriennale 2009
“This production was a gem, not just theatrically, but also, and in fact especially, musically. Bochum Symphony Orchestra played Schönberg’s score under Michael Boder with such ease, as if twelve tone music were the most natural thing in the world. Connections with Gustav Mahler’s collage technique were as audible as echoes of Kurt Weill or of jazz. Despite all the espressivo markings, Schönberg ‘s score wasn’t romanticised, but remained clear and structured.”
Onm.de, August 2009
“I have never heard such a sensuous, colourful, radiant, poetic, yet mysterious performance of Schönberg as that of the Bochum Symphony Orchestra under Michael Boder.”
Westdeutsche Zeitung, August 2009
“Michael Boder conducted the Bochum Symphony Orchestra with a dance-like intensity, discreetly yet vigilantly keeping his ego out of the score, thus adding to the enchantment. There was none of the aseptic severity which has so often been heard in recent performances of Schönberg. The orchestra sounded impressionistic at times, then expressionistic; at times neo-classical and at others, late romantic; but always full of life and vitality.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung, August 2009
“As a drama of religious awakening this production rivals the very best Schoenberg interpretations -including Netherlands Opera's historic Moses and Aron of Pierre Boulez and Peter Stein fifteen years in Amsterdam and Salzburg.”
De Volkskrant, August 2009
Henze Phaedra / Ensemble Modern
“Under conductor Michael Boder, the Frankfurt Ensemble Modern, who premiered Henze’s opera ‘Phaedra’, achieved an admirable balance between expressivity and poetry, between richly orchestrated passages and soloistic sections, such as the neo-romantic oboe solo in act two.”
General Anzeiger, January 2009