Sven-Eric Bechtolf studied at the Mozarteum Salzburg in Austria before starting his career as an actor, collaborating with the foremost stages of Germany and Switzerland; besides he had many engagements at the Burgtheater Wien for several years.
He received the Nestroy Prize of Theatre as “actor of the year” in 2002 and 2003. In 2007 he was honoured with the Albin Skoda Ring.
Bechtolf began working as a stage director in 1993 and was invited to a Theatre Meeting in Berlin with his second piece of work Der Streit/ La Dispute by Marivaux.
His first staging of an opera production was Alban Berg’s Lulu in Zurich, which laid the foundation for engagements at other major stages, such as Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Vienna State Opera and the Mozart/ Da Ponte-Cycle at the Salzburg Festival.
In 2006 he publishes his book Vorabend (preliminary evening), a very individual approach to Wagner’s Ring.
In 2012 the Salzburg Festival appointed him as new theatre director. In 2015 and 2016 he was the Festival’s artistic director.
In 2016 he was decorated with the Ring of Honour of the city of Salzburg and the Cross of the Order of Merit for services to Austrian culture and science.
Since 2016 he has been working as a freelance actor and director.
His production of Purcell’s King Arthur at the Berlin State Opera in 2017, co-produced by Julian Crouch, was a remarkable success. Latest works include Hänsel und Gretel, Die Ägyptische Helena and Ernani at the Teatro alla Scala in Milanla, King Arthur at the Theater an der Wien and at the Berlin State Opera, Rusalka, La Cenerentola, Ariadne of Naxos, Wagner’s Ring at Wiener Staatsoper.
Sven-Eric Bechtolf is married and lives in Leipzig.