Opera Scotland

Ralph Koltai Suggest updates

Born Berlin, 31 July 1924.

Britlish stage designer.

Ralph Koltai is one of the most influential theatre designers of his generation, working in theatre, opera and dance. He moved to Britain before the war, and trained in London at the Central School of Art and Design, where he later taught as Head of Theatre Design.

His professional debut in 1950 was as designer for a production of Angélique for the London Opera Club. The following year he worked with the English Opera Group on The Wandering Scholar (Holst). Designs for Sadler's Wells since 1952 include Samson and Delilah, Carmen, Il tabarro, Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Attila, From the House of the Dead, The Ring of the Nibelung, Duke Bluebeard's Castle, Seven Deadly Sins, Anna Karenina and Pacific Overtures. At the Royal Opera he designed Tannhäuser and world premieres of Taverner (Maxwell Davies) and The Ice Break (Tippett). He also designed several UK premieres for the New Opera Company at Sadler's Wells, including Murder in the Cathedral, The Prisoner, Erwartung, Volpone and Boulevard Solitude.

For Scottish Opera from 1963 his work included Otello, Volo di notte, Don Giovanni, Boris Godunov, The Rake's Progress (twice), Elegy for Young Lovers, Tristan und Isolde, Macbeth and Dalibor. With Welsh National, Don Giovanni, Lulu and The Midsummer Marriage and for Opera North Genoveva.

Operatic work abroad includes Sydney (Tannhäuser), Buenos Aires (A Midsummer Night's Dream), Amsterdam (Wozzeck), Lyon (Die Soldaten), Geneva (L'italiana in Algeri), Munich (Fidelio), Cassel (Lulu), Oslo (The Makropulos Case).

His theatre work includes many productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company. ranging from standard repertoire such as The Merchant of Venice to rareties such as The Jew of Malta and Timon of Athens.

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