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Per Boye Hansen

Per Boye Hansen

Artistic Director of the National Theatre Opera and the State Opera


Per Boye Hansen is an experienced opera, music and theatre manager. Born in Oslo in 1957, from 2012 to 2017 he held the post of Artistic Director of Den Norske Opera (Norwegian National Opera), which during his tenure rose to become a prominent opera company and enjoyed great international acclaim.

Between 2005 and 2012, he served as General and Artistic Director of the Bergen International Festival. The largest of its kind in Northern Europe, it annually presents a number of world premieres in the field of dance, theatre, classical music and opera. Among the many artists working with the festival during Hansen’s tenure were Jon Fosse, Calixto Bieito, Magnus Lindberg, Bent Sörensen, Stefan Herheim, Leif Ove Andsnes, Julian Rachlin, Janine Jansen, Evgeny Kissin, Anne Sofie von Otter, Bryn Terfel, Myung-Whun Chung, Sakari Oramo and Andris Nelsons, as well as the Krétakör theatre company.

In 1999, Hansen began working as casting director at the Komische Oper Berlin, where in 2003 he was named deputy to the General Director, Andreas Homoki. He was responsible for the company’s everyday operation and was in charge of building up a large ensemble of soloists, engaging guest singers and conductors, and collaborating with numerous renowned stage directors, including Barrie Kosky, Peter Konwitschny, Hans Neuenfels, Calixto Bieito, David Alden, Richard Jones and Sebastian Baumgarten.

In 2011, the Norwegian Minister of Culture appointed him chair of the jury of the International Ibsen Award, a position he held until 2018. Hansen has been a member of the Board of Dacapo Records (Edition S), a classical and new music label, supported by the Danish Ministry of Culture. He has sat on the juries of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition (2013), the International Opera Awards (2017), the Ring Award for opera stage directors in Graz (2017 and 2020), and the Vinceró Opera Singing Competition in Naples (2021), .

In 1990, he founded Oslo Arts Management and organised a series of concerts in the Norwegian capital, featuring Jessye Norman, Kiri Te Kanawa, Kathleen Battle, Anne Sophie von Mutter, Anne Sofie von Otter, James Galway, José Carreras, Bryn Terfel and other artists. In 1994, he was entrusted with organising a cycle of concerts for the Norwegian National Olympic Committee, which formed part of the cultural programme of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.

From 1984 to 1988, Hansen was assistant stage director at the Oper Köln, where he worked alongside Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Hans Neugebauer and Willy Decker, as well as Michael Hampe, the company’s General Director. In the 1980s, he regularly served as assistant to Hampe and Ponnelle at the Salzburger Festspiele.

In 1982, he established the Oslo Summer Opera company, which he helmed until 1992. The originally loose association of Norwegian artists ultimately turned into an annual 10-day festival, at which performances were given by Francisco Araiza, Edith Mathis, Delores Ziegler, Lucia Popp and other renowned singers. Hansen staged in Norwegian premiere Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Nights Dream, W. A. Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and La clemenza di Tito, and Richard Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos.

After completing his theatre studies at the University of Oslo, he went on to study opera direction under the tutelage of Prof. Dieter Bülter-Marell at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany.