Genuinely believing in the power of performing arts

10 questions for Antje Schupp

By Opera Views, May 26th, 2018

Read this interview in Spanish

Antje Schupp´s photos: Andreas Tobias. Production pictures by Jean-Marc Turmes.
Antja Schupp. Picture source

Antje Schupp undoubtfully belongs to the young and promising generation of the contemporary German music theatre stage directors. Offering the strikingly up-to-date staging of the Antonio Vivaldi´s opera “Motezuma” at the theatre in Ulm on March 23rd, 2018, she has presented the “terrifyingly timeless” plot and tells the story about “how power controls people”.

Born in 1983 in Munich, she studied theatre, film, media studies and cultural studies in Vienna and directed opera at the Bavarian Theater Academy in Munich in 2006-2010.

Since 2010 she works as a freelance director and develops her own productions in the independent scene. These projects present on the large-scale the mixture of documentary, literary and performative and deal with the relationship of the individual to his socio-political environment. Opera Views was happy to acquire “10 Questions for…” interview with this talented young woman and gladly presents it to our readers.

  1. Did theatre play a significant role during your childhood?

Not very much. Playing the piano and classical music was much stronger than theatre. I always read a lot though. I got in touch with the performing arts by reading sketches of the famous Bavarian comedian Karl Valentin when I was about 12 years old, immediately falling in love with his work. These were my first steps in getting involved with the performing arts

2. Why did you decide to become a stage director?

Antje Schupp copyright by Andreas Tobias 28-WebsiteAfter I recognised, that this profession satisfies many different skills and passions, that I have. It is a profession which enables me to work with what I love: theatre, performance, music, literature – art in almost all its forms. I genuinely in the power of performing arts and what they can create.

3. Was there a person, who acted as a role-model in your artistic development?

There are many people, who influenced me so I could not name a role model. There are many artists, whom I deeply admire and get inspired by their work. To name one: Christoph Schlingensief.

4. What was your first ever personal staging and where?

That was when I started studying directing in Munich at the Bayerische Theaterakademie August Everding. By the end of our first year, we had to stage a 20min play. It was “The pillowman” by Martin McDonagh.

5. Do you love opera and opera singers?

I love opera, but I do not love opera singers for being opera singers. It is a chosen profession as I chose mine. However, it is vital for me, to work with respect and love with not only singers but with everyone involved in a production. Depending on how the dynamic in a group is, I might not always succeed. However, I try.

6. What is the greatest challenge to work with an opera singer?

I could not think of something general. I do not consider working with singers as a challenge in terms. Working together with performers of all kinds is Giving and Taking. In each case, it is important to define how much both sides are willing to give and to take. 

A scene from “Motezuma” by Antonio Vivaldi at the theatre in Ulm, Germany.

There is no general answer. I have worked with singers, who are open-minded, curious and creative. I have worked with singers, who are sceptical, have attitudes or play games. Naturally, working with the first kind is more fun. I do think though; there could be more space in the opera business for experiments, taking risks and maybe even failure. The expectation which singers have to function like a clockwork is an awkward one to me.

8. Is there a message hidden in your stagings or behind your work: politics, arts or both?

If I succeed, then both.

9. How would you describe the way you work or/and stage?

I like to prepare a long time in advance to give my thoughts time to develop. I can stage very fast and create even full hour performances in one week, but I prefer to have more time. In the rehearsals itself, I sometimes work quite intuitively, which is possible, if I generally know what I am aiming at.

10. What are you dream opera/drama you would like to stage?

That is quite a classical one: Don Giovanni. Moreover, I hereby out myself as a Mozart Fan.

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