The actor and director Sven-Eric Bechtolf was born in Darmstadt in 1957 and trained at the Salzburg Mozarteum. Engagements as an actor have taken him to the Zurich Schauspielhaus, the Bochum Schauspielhaus, the Thalia Theatre in Hamburg, the Vienna Burgtheater, the Almeida Theatre in London and elsewhere. For his performance as Friedrich Hofreiter in Andrea Breth’s production of Schnitzler’s Das weite Land (Undiscovered Country) at the 2002 Salzburg Festival he was awarded the Nestroy Theatre Prize, which he had already received the previous year for his performance in Luc Bondy’s production of Yasmina Reza’s Drei Mal Leben (Life x 3) at the Burgtheater. He played the Good Companion and Devil in Christian Stückl’s production of Jedermann in 2007 and 2008. In 2010 he received the Albin Skoda Ring. Since 1994 Sven-Eric Bechtolf has also been active as a director and has worked extensively at the Thalia Theatre in Hamburg, the Burgtheater in Vienna, the Ruhrtriennale, Barcelona and elsewhere. He made his debut as an opera director with Berg’s Lulu at the Zurich Opera. Other productions have included Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Vienna State Opera. He was appointed the Salzburg Festival’s head of theatre in 2012.