As a child, Ian Strasfogel was never far from the opera house. A son of the much-admired Metropolitan Opera coach and conductor Ignace Strasfogel, he quickly established himself as one of America’s leading opera directors.
He is perhaps best known for devising four entirely different scenarios and productions of Gyoergi Ligeti’s wordless masterpiece, Aventures/Nouvelles Aventures for the Tanglewood Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Netherlands Opera and New York Philharmonic. Other significant premieres include the first theatrical realization of Wassily Kandinsky’s visionary color-light opera, Der Gelbe Klang, for the Guggenheim Museum and the Alte Oper Frankfurt, the world premiere of Satyricon by Bruno Maderna, for which he also created the scenario (Netherlands Opera, Netherlands Television, Tanglewood Festival), the American premiere of Luciano Berio’s Passaggio (Juilliard School, Harvard University, Aix-en-Provence Festival), the American premiere of Peter Maxwell Davies’ Eight Songs for a Mad King (Aspen Festival, Los Angeles Philharmonic), the first performance of the revised version of The English Cat by Hans Werner Henze (Alte Oper Frankfurt, Edinburgh Festival), the American premiere of Peter Schat’s Houdini (Aspen Festival) and the world premiere of Schat’s Symposion (Netherlands Opera), the world premiere of Five Short Operas by Karl Amadeus Hartmann (Munich Biennale, Bavarian Television), the New York premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s Lenz (Juilliard School), the modern premiere of L’Eritrea by Francesco Cavalli (Wexford Festival), the American premiere of Il Ritorno D’Ulisse in Patria by Claudio Monteverdi (Washington Opera, New York City Opera), the New York premieres of Roger Sessions’ two operas, The Trial of Lucullus and Montezuma (both Juilliard School), and the world premiere of the Bruno Maderna-Ian Strasfogel edition of The Coronation of Poppea (Tanglewood Festival, soon to be published by Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan).
More recently, Mr. Strasfogel has devoted himself to writing. He staged and created the texts for Icarus and Talking Heads, two open air spectacles by the German artist Otto Piene. His English adaptation of Jacques Offenbach’s Ba-Ta-Clan is published by G. Schirmer. He wrote the book and lyrics for Il Musico, first seen at the National Music Theater Conference at the O’Neill Center. His play Appassionata, a winner of the Berilla Kerr Foundation award, was premiered by the Jewish Ensemble Theater in Detroit and optioned for Broadway.
His most recent literary works are Operaland, a comic novel, and Ignace Strasfogel- The Rediscovery of a Wunderkind, a biography of his late father commissioned by the Academy of Arts in Berlin and published by Hentrich & Hentrich Verlag in both the original English and a German translation by Tim Schneider.
He is currently at work on an intergenerational memoir tracing his family’s close engagement with the artistic life of both Germany and America.