Michael Sturminger studied directing and screenwriting at the Universitaet fuer Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Vienna (MDW). Since 1990, he has been a freelance librettist, writer and director of films, theatre productions, and operas. Since 2014, he’s been Director of the Summer Festival in Perchtoldsdorf. Since autumn 2018, he has been teaching at his alma mater.
The audience saw the director's performances on the stages of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the Elbe Philharmonic in Hamburg, Vienna Theater an der Wien, the Zurich Opera, the Aalto Theatre in Essen, Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich, the Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Folk Opera, opera theatres in Graz and Cologne. He has created performances for the Salzburg Easter Festival, Wien Modern Festival, Schwetzingen Festival, Ruhr Festival in Recklinghausen, Prague Spring International Music Festival, Stars of the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg, festivals in Sydney, Toronto, Grafenegg, and Bregenz. In 2018, the production of Salome by Richard Strauss at the Klagenfurt City Theatre was awarded the Austrian Music Theatre Prize for Best Opera Production.
Michael Sturminger wrote the libretto for Bernhard Lang's opera I Hate Mozart (2006) that he himself staged at the Theater an der Wien. The second composition for Lang - Re: igen - was presented in Schwetzingen (2014) and resumed at the Bregenz Festival (2019). Now they both are working on an order for the Stadttheater Klagenfurt: the premiere of the music theatre work Job is to take place in 2023.
Sturminger is in a fruitful creative collaboration with the outstanding artist John Malkovich. Their productions The Infernal Comedy, Giacomo Variations, and Just Call Me God (their music director is Martin Haselböck) are experimental music theatre projects that aim to combine classical music with contemporary drama. The cinematic version of Giacomo Variations titled Casanova Variations has been shown at countless international festivals and has won two Austrian Film Awards and the Romy TV award. In 2008, Sturminger accompanied Cecilia Bartoli on her research and recording of the album Maria that resulted in the documentary Malibran Rediscovered and the Bartoli’s concert in Barcelona. Michael is about to complete a documentary with the participation of pianist Martha Argerich.
At the birthplace of Mozart - in the Austrian Salzburg - Sturminger made his debut in 2006 as an opera director: he staged Mozart's opera Il Sogno di Scipione. In 2017, he staged the chamber opera Lohengrin by Salvatore Sciarrino at the Salzburg Easter Festival and Hugo von Hoffmannsthal's Jedermann for the main programme of the Salzburg Summer Festival. At the Salzburg Easter Festival in 2018, along with conductor Christian Thielemann and the Dresden State Chapel, he staged Tosca by Giacomo Puccini (the cast included Anna Netrebko, Yusif Eyvazov, and Ludovic Tezier), which was resumed at the 2021 Summer Festival with triumph.
In 2021, he returned to the drama of Hoffmannsthal presenting a new version of Jedermann in Salzburg. The leading role was played by the star of the Berlin Schaubühne Lars Eidinger.