Floris Visser (35) has rapidly gained international recognition as one of the leading talents of the next generation of opera directors. Various of the world’s leading opera institutions are engaging or closely following him. Future highlights include Juditha Triumphans (Vivaldi) at Dutch National Opera, Manon (Massenet) at Opernhaus Zürich and Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Offenbach) at Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe.
Floris Visser is combining his international opera activities with being
Artistic Director of Opera Trionfo. He launched a 4-year partnership for a series of newly composed operas called 'Sign of the Times' in co-production with Dutch National Opera and the world renowned Asko|Schoenberg Ensemble. The first episode ‘Fortress Europe’ was a tremendous success. In addition, Opera Trionfo is making international tours, e.g. ‘17/18 Antigona by Traetta with performances in Germany and The Netherlands.
He was the first Dutch director to be invited to the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow, where he staged Mozart's Così fan tutte. This production received five nominations for the Golden Masks, Russia's most prestigious Theatre Prize. Amongst the nominations were those for Best Production and Best Director. Press and audience saluted Floris as 'the main hero of today' and his work as a 'a brilliant performance'. His production of Orphée et Eurydice for Dutch Touring Opera was awarded Opera of the Year 2015 by Operamagazine and got nothing but ‘five star’ reviews in all the newspapers. It was described as 'magical', 'deeply moving' and 'exceptionally beautiful'.
Born in Amsterdam in 1983, Floris Visser performed on the theatre stage from a very early age. He studied at the Theatre Academy of Maastricht, where he was educated as an actor and director. After his graduation at the Theatre Academy in 2006 he went on to study classical singing at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. During his studies he was appointed professor of drama and dramaturgy at the Royal Conservatory. Here he started to develop his own method to train opera singers, where he combined the Stanislavskian system with his own experiences as an actor, singer and musician, which he continues to use in his work as a stage director up to this day. In the same period he also served as assistant director at Dutch National Opera Academy and for Willy Decker at Dutch National Opera. This collaboration appeared to be a turning point in his career and crucial for his artistic development as an opera director. Inspired by Decker he always searches to penetrate the core of a piece. In doing so he approaches an opera from every angle and examines all its surroundings, to in the end leave out all that is superfluous and present that one image, motto or principle around which he constructs his concept and design. His productions are known for their detailed and virtuosic personen-regie, comprehensive concepts and iconic images with the music as their driving force. People have described his work as ’time-rich’ and ’concise'.
In 2008 he was invited to direct Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at the Royal Theatre Carré on the occasion of the birthday of her Majesty Queen Beatrix. This event was followed by productions of Menotti's The Telephone and Poulenc's La Voix Humaine at the International Theatre Festival Amsterdam and the New Festival The Hague. His 2009 production of Handel’s Agrippina for the International Handel Year was premiered at the Royal Theatre The Hague, and afterwards was invited to the Festival Musicale Estense at the Teatro Communale in Modena. In response to this production Opera Magazine already described him as ’a most promising asset to the opera world’. He then went on to create a new production of Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito at the Lucent Danstheater, which was revived at the Anghiari Festival in Italy. In 2011 he served as dramaturg and assistant director for the outdoor production of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice on the lake of the Royal Palace of Soestdijk. That year he also directed his own production of Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino, which played at the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam and Konzerthaus Berlin.
In the same season Floris staged Life with an idiot, after Alfred Schnittke's opera & Viktor Jerofejev’s novella, for Dutch National Opera on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Amsterdam Muziektheater.
In 2012 Floris received the special honour of being appointed Cultural Professor at Delft University of Technology. Here he gave a series of master classes and lectures under the title Deus ét Machina, while creating a most successful production of Bizet’s Carmen. In 2013 he directed the Dutch premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave for Opera Trionfo. Subsequently he was awarded the Charlotte Köhler Theatre Award 2013 by the Prince Bernhard Culture Fund. The same year he was appointed artistic director of the Dutch touring company Opera Trionfo.
In 2013 he created a production of Puccini's La Bohème at Theater Osnabrück, which became a resounding success. The same year he became the youngest and first Dutch director to be invited to the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow, to create a Così fan tutte for 2014. His 2015 productions of Gluck’s Orphée et Eurydice at Nederlandse Reisopera and Janáček's Jenůfa at the Staatsoper Hannover were both received with high acclaim. Also in 2015, Opera Trionfo’s first international co-production of Britten’s Owen Wingrave premiered at Theater Osnabrück, and proved to be a great success with German audiences and press.
Floris production of Der Zauberer von Oz at Opernhaus Zürich in 2016 was called „ein Glücksfall“ by the critics. His most recent successes were Semele at the opening of the Internationale Händelfestpiele in Karlsruhe in 2017 (revival 2018), La Traviata for Dutch National Touring Opera, and Antigona as a coproduction of Opera Trionfo and Theater Osnabrück.
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