© Sebastian Fröhlich
© Sebastian Fröhlich
ACROSS GENRES

Nikolaus Habjan

Representation: Concert

BIOGRAPHY

Nikolaus Habjan, born in Graz in 1987, is one of the most versatile and sought-after (musical) theatre directors of his generation. Winner of no less than three Nestroy Awards, he is renowned not merely as a director, but also as an actor and puppeteer, singer and art whistler, transcending genre boundaries with ease.

In season 2022/23, Nikolaus Habjan will direct new productions at the Dortmund Opera (Magic Flute), the Theater an der Wien (La Périchole) or the Semperoper Dresden (L'Orfeo), among others. As a puppeteer and art whistler, he will perform at renowned venues such as the Berlin State Opera, the Vienna Musikverein and Konzerthaus or the Bregenz Festival.

At the age of only 15, he began exploring puppet theatre, perfecting the use of hand puppets with mobile mouths during studies with Neville Tranter. To this day, he regularly uses this style of puppet in his productions. After studying musical theatre directing in Vienna, his first puppet theatre productions were shown at the Schubert Theater in Vienna, with his work F. Zawrel – erbbiologisch und sozial minderwertig earning him his first Nestroy Award in 2012.

Nikolaus Habjan and his productions have been invited to numerous renowned theatres in Austria and abroad, including Munich’s Residenztheater, the Bavarian State Opera, Vienna's Burgtheater and Theater an der Wien as well as Zurich’s Schauspielhaus. In 2019 The New York Times published a review in its print edition praising Habjan’s work Böhm at the Graz Theatre as a “startlingly… elaborate, virtuosic romp”. During the following 2019/20 season he was appointed “Director in residence” at the Theater an der Wien, where he staged Oberon, Gounod’s Faust and in 2020 Richard Strauss’ Salome, which was nominated in 2021 for the Austrian Musical Theatre Prize. In July 2021 he directed Rheingold – immer noch Loge, an opera by Gordon Kampe, at the Bayreuth Festival, before dedicating himself to Puccini’s Tosca at the Dortmund Opera, where he has been one of the ensemble directors since 2020. This production premiered in the autumn of 2021.

In addition to his intense directing schedule, Nikolaus Habjan is an experienced and versatile actor and puppeteer, for example in his celebrated programmes with Musicbanda Franui from Eastern Tyrol, which have taken him to most major concert stages in the German-language region. He also has a passion for another, nearly forgotten artistic genre: art whistling. Hailed as “Pavarotti and Bartoli in one person” (AZ), he has specialized in virtuoso coloratura arias, which he regularly performs to acclaim at such venues as Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Berlin's State Opera or the Bregenz Festival.

2022 | 2023

www.nikolaushabjan.com

This biography is to be reproduced without any changes, omissions or additions, unless expressly authorized by artist management.

DISCOGRAPHY

Album Cover

FRANUI & Nikolaus Habjan: Kreisler-Lieder
On the occasion of his 100th birthday, the East Tyrolean Musicbanda Franui and the celebrated puppeteer and actor Nikolaus Habjan are dedicating an entire album to the great song composer and word acrobat Georg Kreisler, including songs like „Tauben vergiften im Park“, „Biddla Buh“ or „Der Tod, das muss ein Wiener sein“.
Label: col legno | 2022

More on www.col-legno.com

VIDEOS

CALENDAR

Nikolaus Habjan, puppeteer
Simon Meusburger, director

Habjan's solo life story of Friedrich Zawrel, tortured in Nazi Austria by the "expert" prison doctor, who met him again officially in the later Republic and locked him away again, is an ingenious puppet show for a story that probably no other division could cope with so coherently. In sparsely dosed film inserts and linguistically and playfully confidently gliding handling of the angular folding-jaw characters, this resulted in grandiose documentary and emotional theater in mutual embrace, which was awarded the Nestroy Prize.

Nikolaus Habjan, puppeteer
Simon Meusburger, director

Habjan's solo life story of Friedrich Zawrel, tortured in Nazi Austria by the "expert" prison doctor, who met him again officially in the later Republic and locked him away again, is an ingenious puppet show for a story that probably no other division could cope with so coherently. In sparsely dosed film inserts and linguistically and playfully confidently gliding handling of the angular folding-jaw characters, this resulted in grandiose documentary and emotional theater in mutual embrace, which was awarded the Nestroy Prize.

The character of the wanderer is traced in the interplay of music, language and puppet. The wanderer is a topos that has occupied mankind since time immemorial, a symbol figure that is admired and hated in equal measure, who leaves everything behind in order to embark on a quest without even guessing the goal of the hike. A seeker of meaning, who peeps out between the lines of his pencil field in Robert Walser and, as we know, comes “from the mountains” in Schubert's music. A profound and moving journey in search of meaning and purpose.

Nikolaus Habjan, puppeteer and recitation
Musicbanda Franui

FURTHER INFORMATION & TICKETS

He always fascinates with his numerous unusual talents: the stage director, actor and puppeteer, singer and art whistler Nikolaus Habjan, who is in demand internationally like no other. Among other things, he revived the tradition of art whistling and is now one of the best of his kind worldwide.
The art whistling originated in the 19th century in the Austrian upper class and was very popular as a form of upscale light music, especially in the time of the Schrammel brothers. At that time, art whistlers could be seen regularly in the Viennese variety shows, cabarets and public stages, with the best-known representative of Vienna being the Fiaker Johann Tranquillini (1855-1895), known as Baron Jean. His repertoire included operetta arias and concert waltzes, decorated with elaborate trills and whistling coloratura. These interpretations of classical music were also regularly performed at the court of the Austrian Emperor. However, the high form of art whistling gradually fell into oblivion.
Nikolaus Habjan literally brought a breath of fresh air to the almost forgotten genre and was the first art whistler to perform e.g. 2018 in the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. In Ludwigshafen, the audience now has the opportunity to become familiar with this art form and to experience a virtuoso artist who presents works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Antonín Dvořák, Giuseppe Verdi and Astor Piazzolla in an unusual and entertaining way . Nikolaus Habjan will be accompanied on the piano by the award-winning pianist Ines Schüttengruber.

Nikolaus Habjan, art whistler & conférencier
Ines Schüttengruber, piano

FURTHER INFORMATION & TICKETS

"Alles nicht wahr" - ein Georg Kreisler-recital

Nikolaus Habjan | puppeteer, singer, emcee
Musicbanda Franui

FURTHER INFORMATION & TICKETS
 

CONTACT

Representation: Concert

IN FOCUS

NIKOLAUS HABJAN | New CD with songs by Georg Kreisler
09Jul2022
NIKOLAUS HABJAN | New CD with songs by Georg Kreisler

The celebrated puppeteer and director Nikolaus Habjan and the Musicbanda Franui release an album with songs by Georg Kreisler: A homage to the 100th birthday of the great song composer, poet, musician and cabaret artist.

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NIKOLAUS HABJAN - The Art of Whistling
02May2022
NIKOLAUS HABJAN - The Art of Whistling

The Austrian multi-talent Nikolaus Habjan is familiar to many as a stage director and puppeteer, having won considerable renown for his productions and concerts far beyond the German-language region. But he also enjoys a high reputation as an Art Whistler!

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NIKOLAUS HABJAN as Art Whistler in Vienna Konzerthaus
30Dec2021
NIKOLAUS HABJAN as Art Whistler in Vienna Konzerthaus

The annual New Year's Eve concert is a fixed point in Nikolaus Habjan's calendar! Look forward to a sparkling programme!

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