Renowned as both a leading exponent of twentieth century music and for his meticulous preparation of new scores, German conductor Michael Boder appears regularly at the most prestigious theatres around the world, and has overseen a number of notable world premieres, including most recently Georg Friedrich Haas’ Morgen und Abend at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. His illustrious career has included tenures as Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor at the Royal Danish Theatre and Orchestra between 2012-2016 and Musical Director of the Gran Teatro del Liceu between 2008-2012. Boder’s achievements have been recognized with the Spanish critics’ award for Le Grand Macabre, and a Grammy nomination for Lulu.
Highlights of the 2017/18 season include Tannhäuser at the Seongnam Arts Centre in South Korea and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin; Gottfried von Einem Der Besuch der alten Dame at Theater an der Wien, and Capriccio for the Wiener Staatsoper. Orchestral engagements include a Mendelssohn and Strauss programme with the Beethoven Orchester Bonn, and a concert with tenor Klaus Florian Vogt and the Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin.
Recent operatic highlights include the world premiere of Anno Schreier Hamlet, Stravinsky The Rake’s Progress, Schubert Lazarus and Strauss Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Theater an der Wien; Hindemith Cardillac, Reimann Medea, Strauss Elektra and Ariadne auf Naxos at the Wiener Staatsoper; Lulu, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Salome, Der Rosenkavalier, Der fliegende Holländer, Porgy and Bess, and Le Grand Macabre at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen, Elektra at Hungarian National Opera, Daphne for Hamburg State Opera, Peter Eötvös’ Tri Sestri at Opernhaus Zurich, and Le Grand Macabre at La Monnaie. In 2017 he conducted the Wiener Staatsballett in Le Pavillon d Armide and Le sacre du Printemps.
Boder is also a well-established orchestral conductor. He has worked regularly with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Königlichen Kapelle Kopenhagen, Gulbenkian, Ensemble Modern, Vienna Radio Symphony, Wiener Symphoniker, Saitokinen Festival, Tokyo Philharmonic and Tokyo Symphony orchestras. Recent highlights include Yomiuri Nippon Symphony at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre and Suntory Hall; Nielsen and Schoenberg with the Royal Danish Orchestra at the Berliner Festspiele and Birmingham Symphony Hall; Mahler’s Wunderhorn Lieder with Dietrich Henschel and the orchestra of La Monnaie, accompanied by a newly commissioned film by Clara Pons and new orchestrations by Detlef Glanert; and Ligeti and Trojahn at the Cite de La Musique in Paris with Ensemble Modern.
Boder 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 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 Reimann, all at the Wiener Staatsoper.
During this period, 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 Khovanshchina, Salome, Parsifal and Le Grand Macabre in Barcelona. In 2009, he conducted 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 Lombardi (Theater Basel), Der Riese vom Steinfeld by Cerha (Staatsoper Wien), Phaedra by Henze, and Faustus - the last night by Dusapin (Staatsoper Berlin unter den Linden).
I have never heard such a sensuous, colourful, radiant, poetic, yet mysterious performance
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.
The ecstatic sound world produced by Boder created an almost hypnotic vortex.