Portrait Jakob Peters-Messer
Deutsche Version


Jakob Peters-Messer is born in 1963 in Viersen, Germany. After studying Musical Theatre Directing in Hamburg, from 1987 to 1991 he works as assistant director to Götz Friedrich at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. During this time he also stages Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera at Berlin’s Hebbel-Theater. In 1990 the production is awarded the Berliner Zeitung Critics’ Prize. After the end of his engagement at the Deutsche Oper, his close cooperation with Nikolaus Lehnhoff takes him to other parts of Europe and to the US. Since 1994 Jakob Peters-Messer has worked as a freelance director. He lives in Berlin.

His freelance career begins with stagings of Baroque opera and new music at the Deutsche Staatsoper: Orpheus oder die wunderbare Beständigkeit der Liebe (Telemann), La Didone (Cavalli) and the world première of Komödie ohne Titel (Müller-Wieland). Next come works by Monteverdi, Cavalli, Mazzocchi, Handel, Keiser, Vinci, Vivaldi, Gluck, Haydn and Mozart. Hereafter, Jakob Peters-Messer also explores the repertoire of the 19th and 20th century, with operas by Verdi, Wagner, Massenet, Puccini, Mascagni, Debussy, Shostakovich and Stravinsky. He is particularly interested in discovering unknown operas, such as Shostakovich’s Die Nase (The Nose), Max von Schilling’s Mona Lisa, Massenet’s Grisélidis, Mascagni’s Iris and Szymanowski’sKról Roger(King Roger).

In 2006 Jakob Peters-Messer directs Giulio Cesare at the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, as the first staged performance of a Handel opera in Israel. In 2010 his world première of Jeffrey Ching’s Das Waisenkind at Erfurt Theatre wins the audience award “Best Opera of the 2009/2010 Season”. There is international acclaim, too, for his staging of the first performance of Meyerbeer’s Vasco de Gama, presented in 2013 at the Chemnitz Theatre, as well as for his 2013 Tristan und Isolde production for Nederlandse Reisopera – voted “Opera of the Year” by the public and critics in the Netherlands – and his collaboration with Parnassus Arts Productions on Catone in Utica by Leonardo Vinci at the 2015 Versailles Festival. In summer 2016 several thousand spectators watch Tosca at the DomStufen-Festspiele in Erfurth, and in October 2016 Fidelio is performed by Bonn Opera at the Daegu International Opera Festival in Korea.

After Verdi’s Don Carlo at Leipzig Opera House in 2017, Jakob Peters-Messer will return to Leipzig with Verdi’s Il trovatore in 2020. In addition, a re-production of the successful production of Tristan und Isolde in the Netherlands is on the program. Plans for 2021 are Flammen (Flames) by Erwin Schulhoff, Ein Feldlager in Schlesien (A Camp in Silesia) by Giacomo Meyerbeer, Das Wunder von Heliane (The Miracle of Heliane) by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Turandot by Giacomo Puccini.


Frank Beermann, Alan Curtis, René Jacobs, Konrad Junghänel, Jörg Halubek, Thomas Hengelbrock, Antony Hermus, Roland Kluttig, Antonello Manacorda, Riccardo Minasi, George Petrou, Sébastien Rouland, Andreas Spering, Christoph Spering, David Stern


Opera houses in Germany

Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Chemnitz, Coburg, Cottbus, Dessau, Dortmund, Erfurt, Heidelberg, Krefeld-Mönchengladbach, Leipzig, Lübeck, Magdeburg, Mannheim, Nuremberg, Oldenburg, Wiesbaden, Wuppertal


Opera houses abroad

Bern, Bordeaux, Dublin, Nederlandse Reisopera, Liège, Lisbon, Montpellier, Nice, St. Gallen, Tel Aviv



Festival dei Due Mondi, Spoleto; Daegu International Opera Festival; Festwochen der Alten Musik, Innsbruck; Flanders Festival, Antwerp; Internationale Maifestspiele, Wiesbaden; Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci; Musiktheaterbiennale, Munich; Telemann-Festtage, Magdeburg; Winteroper, Potsdam; Schwetzingen Festival; Versailles Festival



1990 Berliner Zeitung Critics’ Prize (for La Finta Giardiniera, Hebbel-Theater, Berlin)

2010 “Best Opera of the 2009/2010 Season” audience award (for Das Waisenkind, Erfurt Theatre)

2013 “Opera of the Year” in the Netherlands (for Tristan und Isolde, Nederlandse Reisopera)