Karel Drgac began his stage directing career in 1983 as an assistant to famed director Jean-Pierre Ponelle at the opera companies in Chicago, Vienna and Zurich, as well as the Salzburg Festival and the Metropolitan Opera. After several seasons as Stage Director and Production Coordinator at the opera in Graz, Austria, Mr. Drgac became the first post-Communist General Manager and Artistic Director of the State Opera Prague in 1990. For the next six years he produced and directed works by such popular composers as Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Smetana, Janacek, and Offenbach, as well as staging relatively unknown operas by Zemlinsky, Krasa, and von Einem.
Concurrently, Karel Drgac founded the summer opera festival of the Kamptal in Gars, Austria, which opened in August of 1990 with Mozart's DonGiovanni. From a few performances that summer, the festival has grown this year to 5 weeks and 19 performances. Having presented and directed such other operas as Magic Flute, Rigoletto, Tales of Hoffmann, Il Trovatore, Nabucco, Carmen, and Aida in the recent summers, the 1998 season's offering is La boheme. Puccini's popular opera will again be performed by an international cast of renowned singers and musicians - all under the musical direction of veteran conductor Ivan Parik.
Among the various projects of the 1998-99 season, Mr. Drgac will head the new production of Smetana's The Bartered Bride at Monte Carlo, featuring the musical direction of Zdenek Macal. Other productions that Mr. Drgac has directed recently have been La Traviata, The Flying Dutchman and Lucia di Lammermoor in Germany, and Krasa's Betrothal in a Dream at the Washington (D.C.) and Mannheim Operas. The latter engagements have been particularly successful ones for the young director who has earned Masters' Degrees from the University of Ostrava, Czech Republic, and the University of Music and Drama in Vienna. Mr. Drgac has also been a Professor of Stage Directing at the Music Academy in Amsterdam and currently resides in Vienna.
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