Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Alfred Roller was born in Brno, Moravia. He at first studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under Christian Griepenkerl and Eduard Peithner von Lichtenfels, but eventually became disenchanted with the Academy's traditionalism. In 1897 he co-founded the Viennese Secession with Koloman Moser, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann, Gustav Klimt, and other artists who rejected the prevalent academic style of art. He became a professor of drawing at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (Kunstgewerbeschule) in 1899, and president of the Secession in 1902.

In his early career Roller was very active as a graphic designer and draughtsman. He designed numerous covers and vignettes for the pages the Secessionist periodical Ver Sacrum, as well as the posters for the fourth, fourteenth, and sixteenth Secession exhibitions. He also designed the layout of the exhibitions themselves.

15-04-1902 Roller was introduced to Gustav Mahler by Carl Julius Rudolf Moll (1861-1945). Roller expressed an interest in stage design and showed Mahler several sketches he had made for Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. Mahler was impressed and decided to employ Roller to design the sets for a new production of the piece. The production, which premiered in February 1903, was a great critical success. Roller continued to design sets for Mahler's productions. 

The collaboration between Mahler and Roller created more than 20 celebrated productions of, among other operas, Beethoven's Fidelio, Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide and Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. In the Figaro production, Mahler offended some purists by adding and composing a short recitative scene to Act III.

Eventually Alfred Roller left the Secession and his teaching post at the Kunstgewerbeschule to be appointed chief stage designer to the Vienna State Opera, a position he held until 1909.

Roller productions between 1901 and 1912

Year Composer Production Location Gustav Mahler premiere
Year 1903 Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Tristan und Isolde Vienna State Opera 1903 Opera Vienna 21-02-1903
Year 1903 Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) La Boheme Vienna State Opera  
Year 1903 Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) Euryanthe Vienna State Opera 1903 Opera Vienna 19-01-1903
Year 1904 Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) Der Corregidor Vienna State Opera 1904 Opera Vienna 18-02-1904
Year 1904 Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi (1813-1901) Falstaff Vienna State Opera 1904 Opera Vienna 03-05-1904
Year 1904 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Fidelio Vienna State Opera 1904 Opera Vienna 07-10-1904
Year 1904 Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Lohengrin (Act 1) Vienna State Opera 1905 Opera Vienna 14-11-1905
Year 1905 Hans Pfitzner (1869-1949) Rose vom Liebesgarten  Vienna State Opera 1905 Opera Vienna 06-04-1905
Year 1905 Leo Delibes (1836-1891) Lakme Vienna State Opera 1905 Opera Vienna 14-11-1905
Year 1905 Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) Curious Wives Vienna State Opera 1905 Opera Vienna 04-10-1905
Year 1905 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Cosi fan tutte Vienna State Opera 1905 Opera Vienna 24-11-1905
Year 1905 Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Rheingold Vienna State Opera 1905 Opera Vienna 23-01-1905
Year 1906 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Don Giovanni Vienna State Opera 1905 Opera Vienna 21-12-1905
Year 1906 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Figaro Vienna State Opera 1906 Opera Vienna 30-03-1906
Year 1906 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Zauberflote Vienna State Opera 1906 Opera Vienna 01-06-1906
Year 1906 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Entfuhrung aus dem Serail Vienna State Opera 1906 Opera Vienna 29-01-1906
Year 1906 Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Lohengrin (Act 2 and 3) Vienna State Opera  
Year 1906 Hermann Goetz, Gotz (1840-1876) Taming of the Shrew Vienna State Opera 1906 Opera Vienna 03-11-1906
Year 1906 Max von Schillings (1868-1933) Der Meloch (not performed) Vienna State Opera  
Year 1906 Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) Oedipus un die Sphinx Berlin Deutsches theater  
Year 1907 Gerhart Hauptmann (1868-1946) Kaiser Karls Geisel Berlin Lessing theater  
Year 1907 Wilhelm Minkus / Leo Delibes (1836-1891) Rubezhal (ballet) Vienna State Opera  
Year 1907 Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Walkure Vienna State Opera 1907 Opera Vienna 04-02-1907
Year 1907 Christoph Willibald von Gluck (1714-1787) Iphigenie en Aulide Vienna State Opera 1907 Opera Vienna 18-03-1907
Year 1907 Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868) Barbier Vienna State Opera  
Year 1907 Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) Butterfly Vienna State Opera  
Year 1907 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Fidelio New York Metropolitan Opera (MET) 1908 Opera New York 20-03-1908
Year 1907 Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759-1805) Wilhelm Tell New York Deutsches theater  
Year 1908 Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Siegfried Vienna State Opera  
Year 1908 Julius Bittner (1874-1939) Die Rote Gret Vienna State Opera  
Year 1908 Eugen d'Albert (1864-1932) Tiefland Vienna State Opera  
Year 1908 Etienne Mehul (1763-1817) Joseph et ses freres Vienna State Opera  
Year 1909 Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Fidelio New York Metropolitan Opera (MET) 1909 Opera New York 20-02-1909
Year 1909 Richard Wagner (1813-1883) Gotterdammerung Vienna State Opera  
Year 1909 Richard Strauss (1864-1949) Elektra Vienna State Opera  
Year 1909 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) Faust I Berlin Deutsches theater  
Year 1911 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) Faust II Berlin Deutsches theater  
Year 1911 Richard Strauss (1864-1949) Der Rosenkavalier Dresden Hoftheater  
Year 1911 Sophocles Oedipus Rex Berlin Zirkus Schumann  
Year 1911 Aeschylus The Oresteia Berlin Zirkus Schumann  
Year 1911 Aeschylus The Oresteia Munich Festsaal  
Year 1911 Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) Jedermann Berlin Zirkus Schumann  
Year 1911 Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) Jedermann Munich Neue Musik-Festhalle  
Year 1911 Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) Jedermann Vienna Burgtheater  


Year 1903. Tristan und Isolde. Act I and Act II. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1903. La Boheme. Prologue. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1903. Rheingold. Act II. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1903. Walkure. Act II. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1904. Fidelio. Roccos Stube. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1905. Rose vom Liebensgarten. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1905. Don Giovanni. Act I. Scene II. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1906. Lohengrin. Act I. Scene I. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1906. Figaro. Cherubin. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1909. Elektra. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1911. Faust. Act II. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1911. Der Rosenkavalier. Act II. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1911. Jedermann. Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

Year 1902. Poster for the 14th exhibition of the Vienna Secession (exhibitions)Alfred Roller (1864-1935).

1920. Alfred Roller (1864-1935) by Dora (Madame d'Ora) Kallmus (1881-1963).

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