The INDEPENDENT OPERA Director Fellowship provides an emerging director with the opportunity to stage a chamber opera selected by Independent Opera at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells.

Max Hoehn INDEPENDENT OPERA Director Fellow 2015, photograph Max Lacome

Max Hoehn was awarded the Independent Opera Director Fellowship 2015 in December 2014, from a shortlist of 10 finalists. He was nominated by Graham Vick (Artistic Director, Birmingham Opera Company), Frederic Wake-Walker (Artistic Director, Mahogany Opera Group) and director Jonathan Kent. The Director Fellowship will enable him to stage the UK première of Šimon Voseček’s Biedermann and the Arsonists at the Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells, in November 2015. He will also receive mentoring from David Pountney, Artistic Director of Welsh National Opera, and opportunities to work as Assistant Director on WNO productions.

“Independent Opera has proved immensely encouraging in giving me the freedom and support to experiment and further develop my vision for Šimon Voseček’s terrific new opera, Biedermann and the Arsonists.” Max Hoehn

As Artistic Director of Isle of Noise, a new chamber opera company, Hoehn’s productions have included Handel Furioso, a newly devised staging of Handel arias and duets (UK Tour 2012–13), other credits as director include Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis (Grimeborn Festival, Arcola) and The Master and Margarita (BAC and Edinburgh Fringe). In 2013–14 he assisted Graham Vick and his cutting-edge Birmingham Opera Company on Songs and Dances of Death and a new production of Mussorgsky’s epic opera Khovanshchina, for which he wrote a new English translation entitled Khovanskygate: A National Enquiry. The production was nominated for Best New Production at the International Opera Awards and a South Bank Sky Arts AwardOther Assistant Director credits include The Fairy Queen (Glyndebourne, Jonathan Kent production), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Zürich Opera, Adrian Marthaler), Die Frau ohne Schatten (Mariinsky/Edinburgh Festival, Jonathan Kent) and Tristan und Isolde (Grange Park, David Fielding). 

Future plans include directing directing Stephen Oliver’s The Waiter’s Revenge for Birmingham Opera Company and Erik Satie: Memoirs of a Pear-Shaped Life for the Cheltenham Music Festival. Hoehn takes part in this year’s Jerwood Opera Writing Programme for Aldeburgh Music as librettist and director, writing a new libretto for a short opera by Sarah Liane Lewis and directing two others: by Lliam Paterson and Pamela Carter; and Andrew Thomas and Daniel Solon. 

Hoehn’s work has been supported by Arts Council England, the Swiss Cultural Fund of Great Britain, the Kobler Trust, the Tillett Trust, the Spoli Fund at the Jewish Music Institute, Sir Alan Cox and Lady Ros Shelley.


Director Fellowship workshop 
A short film showing the highlights from our finalists’ workshops
Libretto translation by Richard Stokes

Director Max Hoehn's blog

2 November 2015

Biedermann rehearsals in photos…

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23 October 2015

How do you dress an arsonist?…

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26 August 2015

“What would you do if a pair of suspicious-looking strangers enter your home”…

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