PARTIAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION from Thüringische Landeszeitung (TLZ) of 23 October 2010:

Since August 2002, Guy Montavon has been general manager of Theater [Erfurt] and artistic director of the Erfurt DomStufen Festival.  Montavon is also a jury member of well-known vocal competitions in Paris, Bilbao, Trnava, Barcelona, Verviers, and Montreal, a board member of the German Theatre Association, National Association of Thuringia, and board member of Sparkassen Cultural Foundation.  He teaches regularly at the Universities of Tokyo and Montreal.  This week [23 October 2010], his contract as general manager was extended for five years until 2017 (TLZ reported).  The 49-year-old native of Switzerland, spoke to the TLZ also about his future plans.

Mr. Montavon, did the exension of your contract come to you as a surprise and what were your personal feelings when you received the confirmation?
First of all I love working here, which is presumably known in Erfurt by everyone who has to do with the theater in any way.  Some time ago the responsible people of this city asked me if I wanted to stay here and if so, why.  For my part, the answer was obvious.  But I learned in these discussions why the city wanted me to stay here and continue my work.  Primarily these reasons are the programme of the theater and the satisfaction of the audience; and on the other hand, to further distinguish the theater through its international contacts.

You are ambassador for Erfurt, what does this mean?
Wherever I am busy performing, staging, working as a jury member, I am indirectly making an advertisement for this beautiful city. This weekend, for example, I am going to a medical conference in Berlin, where I will hand over awards together with the Health Minister of the Federal Republic.  I really have no clue about medicine, but I was asked if I could read a eulogy.  I agreed.  The 3,000 people in the room, and those with whom I will speak during the subsequent reception, then know that there is a great, beautiful, new, wonderful theater in Erfurt...

2008 you were awarded the French “Medal of Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of Arts and Literature)”.  What does this mean for you? And have you ever been so honoured before?
Abroad, yes.  There is less attention to that here.  It is a recognition for me personally.  There is a tiny badge that I wear on the lapel.  Only these who know that it is part of the ceremony will recognize it.  By the way, in two years I will be elevated from “Chevalier” to “Officier” and after another four years to “Commandeur”, which is typically French.  It has nothing to do with money or big fame, but for me it is just fine that my work is recognized internationally.

The cycle of world premieres, which was introduced by you at Theater Erfurt, is always praised.  In September 2005 you staged the world premiere of Philip Glass’ opera Waiting for the Barbarians. This production was shown in 2006 at the Opera in Amsterdam and in 2007 in Austin, Texas.  In 2008 it was performed very successfully in concert form at London's Barbican Hall.  Which of the premieres do you like best?

It is difficult to judge the premieres one has staged oneself, because one is somehow restricted by one’s preoccupation with them.  [But] I would say spontaneously: [Jeffrey Chings] “The Orphan” was chosen by the audience, the opera won the Audience Award of the Society of Theater and Music Lovers of Erfurt for the 2009/10 season.  I find the music of Jeffrey Ching more subtle, exploratory, and enriching than that of Philip Glass.  The instrumentation alone was a great experience for listener and spectator, [although] from the point of view of the story the audience can identify better with Waiting for the Barbarians than with the mysticism of Jeffrey Ching.


| FULL VERSION OF THE INTERVIEW IN GERMAN LANGUAGE - Thüringische Landeszeitung, 23. Oktober 2010 |