© 2019 by Carmen C. Kruse

Carmen C. Kruse




I believe in the power of music theater as an art form and institution to create and promote understanding and its ability to decisively contribute to society by being a place for encounters. I seek to create these places in large, small, new and repertoire work, to lead and facilitate dialogues and to let new spatial and narrative styles encounter strong, three-dimensional characters in clear aesthetics and a tangible Gesamtkunstwerk


Carmen C. Kruse is an Austrian German freelance director of opera. In her work, Kruse focuses on creating places for encounters between individuals, communities, and society at large. She enjoys leaving conventional spaces and working with living composers to explore new topics, spaces, and their people. 

After a year in Australia, she studied music and media management with a focus on opera and innovation in Munich and San Diego. Kruse graduated in 2015 with a thesis on civic impact. During her studies, she interned at Florida Grand Opera and San Diego Opera, whose crisis and saving by the public in 2014 let her towards directing.


From 2016 to 2019, Kruse assisted directors such as Jossi Wieler, Sergio Morabito, Lotte de Beer, Vera Nemirova, Krzysztof Warlikowski, and Àlex Ollé (La Fura dels Baus) at the Salzburger Easter Festival, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Staatstheater Mainz and Staatsoper Stuttgart while developing and directing her own productions.

She gave her directing debut with Cavalli's L'Egisto at the Halifax Summer Opera Festival in 2017. Two deviced pieces followed shortly: Ein Käfig voller Diven at Staatstheater Mainz (2017) and SDDS: Defiance with an amateur choir of sixty at Staatsoper Stuttgart (2018). 


In 2018, Carmen won the directing competition of the Osterfestspiele Baden-Baden, the Berliner Philharmoniker, Theater Baden-Baden and the Deutsche Bank Foundation and was invited to the Directors Lab at Lincoln Center Theater, where she directed scenes from A. Washburns

I have loved strangers. ​


In 2019, Kruse directed the world premieres of Victoria Bond's Clara at the Easter Festival Baden-Baden and Thierry Tidrow's micro-opera A Safe and Special Place at Ensemble Modern, Frankfurt. As well as the deviced work SDDS: Serendipity, a sequel to SDDS Defiance, in November 2019 at Staatsoper Stuttgart. 

Together with composer Manuel Zwerger, Kruse is creating a row of works that explore the relationship between new work and community. With Judith Selenko, the creative team won the 2020 Cross Residency Award and will develop a new community music theater in Verbania in May 2020.


Carmen C. Kruse holds a Directing Scholarship from the Akademie Musiktheater Heute of the Deutsche Bank Stiftung (year 17-19).

Date of publication: October 2019




November 21, 2019


T. Tidrow: A Safe and Special Place (WP)


November 30, 2019


SDDS Serendipity (WIP)


May 2020


M. Zwerger: Tutte le ricette (WP)

V. Bond: CLARA

Osterfestspiele Baden-Baden

— Christoph Wurzel, OMM, 15.04.2019

“Staging and set design fit the lyrical, poetic work in an ideal way. The scene is not naturalistic but leaves space for the symbolic unfolding of the protagonists' inner actions in a romantic space of nature. Nobody plays the piano here, this is mediated by music alone. Robert also does not fight with sheet music when he complains about writing inhibition - Kruse chooses to let time as sand trickle through his hands. (…) A world premiere that convinced in all its parts.”


© Jochen Klenk





70182 Stuttgart


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