Biography

Ralph Koltai is generally acknowledged as the principal innovator of British Theatre Design.

Hungarian by descent, he served with British Intelligence at the Nuremberg Trials and on War Crimes Interrogation at the end of the Second World War.

He subsequently studied at the Central School of Art and Design in London and became head of Theatre Design (1965 – 1972). He has since designed some 250 productions of Opera, Dance, Drama and Musicals throughout the world.

As Director / Designer work includes The Flying Dutchman and La Traviata, Hong Kong Arts Festival (1987 / 90), and Suddenly Last Summer, Nottingham. Thirty Productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company where he is an Associate Designer. Work for the Royal National Theatre includes, amongst others, a notable all-male production of As You Like It (1967 and San Francisco / New York 1975). Over one hundred Opera productions include the Brecht / Weill music drama, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany for Sadlers Wells Opera under the guidance of the legendary Lotte Lenya, the original Jenny in 1928, and a major Ring Cycle (1970-1981) for the English Opera Company under Reginald Goodall.

Among a string of awards he was made a CBE in 1983 and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Performing Arts, Kong Kong, The University of the Arts, London, The Royal Society of Art RDI (Royal Designer of Industry), The Rose Bruford College, Kent and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.

Publication: His book; Ralph Koltai – Designer for the Stage, was first published in 1997. A revised and expanded edition was published in 2003.

Exhibition: Stage 2 Metal Collage 2002 – 2010 – The Royal National Theatre, 2010.

Exhibition: Exhibition of Metal Collages at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, 2016.


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