Ariën Artists - Waut koeken, Stage director - English biography





Born in Belgium, Waut Koeken (1975) studied Art History at the Ghent University and Philosophy at the Universities of Antwerp and Louvain. He trained in a wide range of theatrical professions.  His first fullscale production, was an adaptation for children (in French, Dutch and German) of Mozart’s Magic Flute, created for Zomer-Opera-Alden-Biesen, led to invitations by La Monnaie, the Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg and the Flanders Opera.

He was subsequently assigned by the Flanders Opera and the Grand Théâtre Luxembourg to adapt and direct Nino Rota’s fairytale opera Aladino e la lampada magica for children. A remake of this production was presented at the Opéra National du Rhin (ONR) Strasbourg and revived at the Opera House of Lausanne.

Engagements over the past years included the world premiere of La Strada, an opera based on Fellini's movie, by the awardwinning Flemish composer Luc Van Hove, for the Flanders Opera, L’Île de Tulipatan and Bataclan (Offenbach) at the Wiener Kammeroper, Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor  (Nicolai) at Theater Erfurt ;  Die Fledermaus (co-produced with the Opera House of Nürnberg and ONR Strasbourg ; Barbe-Bleue (Offenbach) for Operazuid Maastricht (NL) and Entführung aus dem Seraïl at ONR-Strasbourg

Waut Koeken directed the world première of Claude Lenners’ opera Der Turm, that was commissioned by the Philharmonic Orchestra of Luxembourg and Grand Théâtre du Luxembourg (2011). With Die Feen (Wagner), adapted for young audience, he made his debut at the Vienna State Opera (2012). The production is now available on DVD.

He directed the creation of the French version of Blanche-Neige an opera for children by the German composer Marius Felix Lange. It premiered at ONR-Strasbourg and revived at Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet, Paris (2013). The Opera House of Saint-Etienne (FR) invited him to direct La Princesse de Trébizonde a rather unknown work by Offenbach, meanwhille revived at the Opera House of Limoges. For his Canadian debut, made possible by the Opera House of Edmonton, he got lavish praise for directing Salome (R. Strauss). Revivals of his Barbe-Bleue allowed him to make his debuts at the Opera Houses of Nancy, Nantes, Angers and Rennes. Other revivals of his productions as La vie parisienne and Blanche-Neige were presented in the Opera house of Lausanne and at ONR-Strasbourg.

Amongst his youngest operas directed by him : Un Ballo in maschera (Verdi), a coproduction between ONL-Nancy, Grand Théâtre de Luxembourg and Operazuid Maastricht, and La Bohème also co-produced by Operazuid Maastricht and Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.

Career development

Since 2017/18, Waut is Artistic and General Manager of the Dutch touring opera company Opera Zuid Maastricht. Under his leadership, the company won the ‘Opera of the Year 2018’ award in the Netherlands. In 2020, Waut was awarded the ‘Schaunard Award’ for ‘courage, leadership and inventivity’ in the field of opera during the Corona-crisis. 

Other awards

His internationally applauded La vie parisienne (Offenbach) made for ONR-Strasbourg earned him nominations as "Director of the year" awarded by the magazine Opernwelt (2015).

Upcoming revivals

Un ballo in Maschera (Verdi) will now be revived in Pamplona (2022) and in France (2024)


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