|Year of Birth:||1959|
Axel Köhler (born 1959 in Schwarzenberg, Saxony) is a German countertenor and opera director. In 1994, he won the Handel Music Prize. Since 2009, he has been Artistic Director of the Halle Opera House.
Axel Köhler studied violin pedagogy and singing at the Carl Maria von Weber Academy of Music in Dresden. In 1987 he made his singing debut as Eustazio in Peter Konwitschny's production of Rinaldo. A number of demanding countertenor roles followed, especially in Handel's operas, as Köhler guested at international festivals and concerts, and in compact disc, radio and opera productions.
Since 1984, Köhler has belonged to the ensemble Halle an der Saale, first as a baritone and later as a countertenor. In 1995, Köhler sang at the Royal Opera House in London at the premiere of Arianna by Alexander Goehr. In 1998 he took over the title role in the world premiere of Farinelli by Siegfried Matthus. In 2001, he played the devil in Detlev Glanert's comic opera Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung at its premiere. He sang the role of Ajib in L'Upupa by Hans Werner Henze in 2003 at the Salzburg Festival premiere. In 2006, Köhler designed the title role in Cantor – Die Vermessung des Unendlichen by Ingomar Grünauer, a world premiere in which he sang as a baritone.
In 2005, Köhler sang at the Semper Opera in Dresden in the role of Poro in Johann Adolf Hasse's opera Cleofide. He sang with the Bavarian State Opera for Poppea and Rinaldo, the Hamburg State Opera for Poppea. He also sang in Monteverdi's L'Orfeo in the part of La Speranza and the Polinesso in Handel's Ariodante. In 2011, he appeared as The Roasted Swan in Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. From 2007 to 2010, he appeared as Artemis in Hans Werner Henze's Phaedra in Berlin, Brussels, Vienna, Frankfurt and London. Subsequently he played the part of Trasimede in Handel's Alceste at the Leipzig Opera. He also sang on the Dresden Theatre Barge, the Opera Hall and at the Rheingau Music Festival in the cabaret program Greife wacker nach der Sünde.