As his son Philipp announces, the “magician of light“ was born 89 years ago on the 7th of June. The death of Guenther Schneider-Siemssen has triggered a chain reaction of grief and sympathy in cultural media as well as at all big opera houses and theatres.
“Neither my family and I nor long time companions have ever been able to understand how one human being managed to bring more than 500 extremely challenging productions onto stages all over the world. Not to mention his light shows, directorial work, film sets, more than 3000 designs in the form of full-fledged works of art and exhibits, the 25 years of his teaching activities at the International Summer Academy Salzburg or his countless lectures worldwide.
For many other stage designers or directors three productions a year would not just have meant a full time job but might have left many of them ravaged by the so-called “burnout syndrome“.
The boundlessness of his creative power is also shown by the fact that Günther Schneider-Siemssen never employed an agent and always dealt with his artistic production himself. As his own manager – both of his “vocation“ and his private life – he leaves behind the legacy of the “stage as cosmic space“ as a symbol of the energy that every human being possesses by nature.
Representing each year of his life, it took 89 craftsmen to realize Günther Schneider Siemssen´s concept of the “cosmic stage area“. Thus the set became a timeless space of existence. Inexhaustible fantasy and creativity were the means to this end.“
Book of condolences: Link
Günther Schneider-Siemssen’s stage designs have become landmarks of 20th century opera, theatre and ballet history.
Collaborating with the greatest conductors and stage directors of the 20th century – Herbert von Karajan, Sir George Solti and Otto Schenk, to name but a few – Schneider-Siemssen designed over five hundred theatre and opera productions worldwide. His stage designs have filled the world’s most prestigious halls, including the Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburg Festivals, the Vienna State Opera, and the Royal Opera House, London. His legendary set designs for Wagner’s Ring Cycle earned him the reputation as ‘The Lord of the Rings’.