Manfred Schweigkofler was since January 1, 2001 the manager and artistic director of the Municipal Theatre in Bolzano which he led to a period of internationally acknowledged prestige. His contribution in the fields of dance and crossover forms, as well as in that of contemporary music, has been yielding tangible fruit acclaimed by the general public and critics alike. Since 2002, Manfred Schweigkofler has also been the general manager and artistic director of the Bolzano Danza international festival, and in January 2007 he took over, with Gustav Kuhn, at the helm of the Wintermezzo international festival. Beyond that, Manfred Schweigkofler is the founder and director of the Accademia Neue Musik in Bolzano, an ensemble specializing in contemporary music. Since 2002, he has sat on the artistic board of the Innsbruck Dance Summer festival.
Mannfred Schweigkofler started his studies of theatre from scratch. He was active for many years as an actor; he took up stage direction at the age of fifteen; he spent about two decades as the frontman of a rock band; and he has organized countless theatrical events, including a project under which he conceived and directed the opening ceremony of the 2007 World Biathlon Championship in Antholz. The show which he then mounted was televized worldwide. In 1989, he set up the Small Ensemble in Bolzano; in 1992 and 1996, he co-founded the United Stages of Bolzano and Carambolage Theatre, respectively. Also in 1996, he initiated and co-formed the School of Musical, for several years acting as its head. In 1999/2000, he was general commissioner of one of the sections of the Expo 2000 show in Hannover.
Since 2004, Manfred Schweigkofler has shifted his focus back on his own productions. The most recent of these have included Rockquiem, his original rock music ballet treatment of Mozart´s Requiem; the first complete stage production of Offenbach´s previously unknown opera Les Fées du Rhin; or the popular dance show Steel. These productions have been staged with formidable success in Italy, Hungary, Austria, Norway, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic. In 2007, Schweigkofler produced a stage dance version of Bach´s St Matthew Passion (in collaboration with Ismael Ivo). In 2009 came his first staging of a contemporary opera, Philippe Boesmans´Julie, which earned him huge critical acclaim. His subsequent staging of Richard Strauss´Elektra, under the musical direction and baton of Gustav Kuhn, received standing ovations from audiences in Ferrara, Piacenza, Modena and Bolzano, as well as rave reviews (2010). The same is true of his phenomenal Fidelio (2011), which was likened by critics to the legendary productions of Giorgio Strehler, Bertolt Brecht or Pina Bausch. A packed auditorium in Philadelphia likewise applauded his staging there of Gounod´s Roméo et Juliette, with the plot relocated to the present-day world of fashion (2011). Still in the same year, he also mounted Roméo et Juliette in Piacenza, Modena and Bolzano; in May 2012, he staged Alexander Zemlinsky´s Der König Kandaul in Palermo (conducted by Asher Fish); October 2012 will see his staging of Don Carlos at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki; and prospects for 2013 include productions of Strauss´Der Rosenkavalier and Verdi´s Simon Boccanegra. Of late, Manfred Schweigkofler has likewise devoted much of his time and energies to teaching, a field where he has attracted exceptional attention to his seminars on creativity conducted at the Abbey of Neustift near Brixen. He is associate professor at the Salzburg Management Business School.
Updated: September 2012