Herbert Wernicke

Herbert Wernicke ( born March 24, 1946 in Auggen, Baden- Württemberg, † April 16, 2002 in Basel) was an opera director, set and costume designer.


Herbert Wernicke, son of a painting restorer of the same name, 1965-1966 studied piano, flute and conducting at the conservatory in Braunschweig. 1967-1971 he was trained at the Art Academy in Munich to stage designer. After starting out as a set and costume designer in Landshut (1971) and Wuppertal ( 1972-1974 ) and the first dramatic productions in Darmstadt in Darmstadt was created in 1978 with Handel's Belshazzar his first opera director. From the late 1980s the focus of his artistic work was the theater of the city of Basel, where he lived since 1990. In addition, he created productions for major opera houses of Europe and America as well as for the Salzburg Festival.

On 16 April 2002 Herbert Wernicke died unexpectedly after a brief illness at the Kantonsspital Basel. On 5 May 2002, at the Theater Basel " Israel in Egypt " premiere. The production was shown in fragmentary form in which it left the day before his death, Herbert Wernicke. He was buried in his birthplace Auggen.

His estate is located in the Berlin Academy of Arts. To 26 March 2006 showed 29 January an exhibition on the creation Herbert Wernicke under the title harmony instead of utopia - Herbert Wernicke, director and set designer. Published to accompany the exhibition: Harmony remains a utopia. Herbert Wernicke - director and designer ·

Herbert Wernicke was married to his second marriage to actress Desirée Meiser.

Important productions

  • Judas Maccabaeus (Bayerische Staatsoper)
  • The Flying Dutchman (Bayerische Staatsoper)
  • Hippolyte et Aricie ( German Opera Berlin)
  • Oberon ( German Opera Berlin)
  • Jephthah (Bremen)
  • Montezuma ( German Opera Berlin)
  • Messiah ( German Opera Berlin)
  • Cosi fan tutte ( Theater Basel )
  • Salome ( Theater Basel )
  • In the white Horse Inn ( Theater Basel )
  • Die Fledermaus ( Theater Basel )
  • Le Cinesi / Echo and Narcissus ( Palace Theatre Schwetzingen, Musical Director: René Jacobs)
  • Moses and Aaron ( Oper Frankfurt; Conducted by Gary Bertini )
  • House of the Dead (Darmstadt)
  • The Chalk Circle (Hamburg)
  • Lulu (1983, Staatstheater Hannover; Conducted by George Alexander Albrecht )
  • Il Barbiere di Siviglia (1985, Darmstadt)
  • Baroque Trilogy ( Phaéton / O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort (after cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach) / Orfeo ed Euridice ) ( 1985-1989, Staatstheater Kassel)
  • Tales of Hoffmann (1985, Frankfurt Opera )
  • Wiener Blut (1986, Theatre of the West in Berlin)
  • The Ring of the Nibelungs (1991, Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels; Conducted by Sylvain Cambreling )
  • La Calisto (1993, Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels; Conductor: René Jacobs)
  • Orfeo (1993, Salzburg Festival )
  • Bluebeard's Castle Opera in one act by Bela Bartok in Wernicke's staging in direct only interrupted by a pause, scenic and psychologically intelligent succession of the same opera in two different versions of Bartok (1994, Frankfurt Opera, Musical Director: Sylvain Cambreling )
  • The Ring of the Nibelungs (1994, Frankfurt Opera, Musical Director: Sylvain Cambreling; resumption of production by 1991)
  • Boris Godunov (1994, Salzburg Festival, in collaboration with the Easter Festival, conductor: Claudio Abbado )
  • Der Rosenkavalier (1995, Salzburg Festival, conducted by Lorin Maazel )
  • Fidelio (1996, Salzburg Festival, conducted by Sir Georg Solti )
  • Pelléas et Mélisande (1996, Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels)
  • From Germany ( Mauricio Kagel, 1997, co-production of the Theater Basel with the Holland Festival and the Vienna Festival )
  • Kidnapping in the concert hall ( Mauricio Kagel, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, world premiere)
  • Don Carlo (1998, Salzburg Festival )
  • I Vespri Siciliani (1998, Vienna State Opera )
  • Giulio Cesare (1998, ( Theater Basel ), Liceu Barcelona)
  • Palestrina (1999, Vienna State Opera )
  • How is the city so desert, which was full of people ( by Heinrich Schütz and Matthias Weckmann. 1999, Theater Basel )
  • Les Troyens (2000, Salzburg Festival )
  • Actus tragicus cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach (December 2000, Theater Basel, Bavarian Theatre Prize 2001)
  • Die Frau ohne Schatten ( December 2001 Metropolitan Opera in New York)
  • Giulio Cesare (2002, Staatstheater Hannover)
  • Das Rheingold (2002, Bavarian State Opera in Munich )
  • Israel in Egypt (Fragment, 2002, Theater Basel ) Wernicke died in the sample phase, only staged performance of Act 1
  • The Valkyrie (draft, 2002, Bavarian State Opera ) Wernicke died four weeks before the start of the samples.

Herbert Wernicke's productions on DVD

  • Hector Berlioz: Les Troyens, live recording from the 2000 Salzburg Festival ( Bel Air Media / ARTE France / France 3), Arthaus 2002 ( license issue as Zweitausendeins Edition)
  • George Frideric Handel: Giulio Cesare, live recording from the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona in July 2004, TDK 2005


  • 2001 Bavarian Theatre Prize
  • 2002 The European Culture Prize