German Filmmaker and Artist Wim Wenders to Direct Opera in 2017

The Berlin State Opera approached Wenders.

Wim Wenders. Photo: DAVID CROTTY/ PatrickMcMullan.com

The German Oscar-nominated filmmaker and artist Wim Wenders is embarking on a late career change at the ripe old age of 70 and taking charge of an opera for the first time.

After directing over 30 films over the course of his forty year career, including movies such as Wings of Desire (1987), and Buena Vista Social Club (1999), Wenders will direct Georges Bizet’s opera Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers) at the Berlin State Opera in 2017. Wenders will work alongside star conductor Daniel Barenboim, who will lead the orchestra.

Jürgen Flimm, director of the Berlin State Opera—one of Germany’s most prestigious opera houses—revealed that the deal came to fruition after the organization “had a long flirt” with Wenders, DW reported.

The Berlin State Opera House. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Berlin State Opera House.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

According to the New York Times, the opera—which was first performed in 1836—is a three-act performance set on the island of Ceylon in ancient times. It follows the story of two pearl divers whose close friendship risks falling apart when they both fall in love with the same woman, a Hindu priestess.

Wenders was previously touted to direct Wagner’s Ring Cycle at Germany’s Bayreuth Festival in 2013 but negotiations reportedly fell apart when the director failed to agree on the terms with festival organizers.

The Opera will be conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Photo: Daniel Barenboim via Facebook

The Opera will be conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
Photo: Daniel Barenboim via Facebook

The multi-talented Wenders is also a successful photographer and is represented by the Blain | Southern Gallery in London and Berlin.

Another well-known German art world figure who dabbled in opera is the controversial artist Jonathan Meese, who was hired to direct Wagner’s Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival. The artist was unceremoniously sacked in November 2014 following overspending and budgeting disagreements, provoking him to launch an angry tirade against festival organizers.


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