The German writer Christian Lehnert (b1969) is the librettist for Hans Werner Henze’s Phaedra, performed by The Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists in the Linbury Theatre in the 2018/19 Season.
Lehnert studied theology, religion and oriental studies in Germany and in Jerusalem, and is a specialist in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He spent time living in Northern Spain, worked as a pastor in Müglitztal near Dresden, and was Director of Studies in Theology, Contemporary History and Culture at the Protestant Academy of Saxony-Anhalt in Wittenberg from 2008 to 2012. In May 2012 he became Academic Director of the Unified Lutheran Church’s Institute for Liturgical Studies at the University of Leipzig. He is also a member of the Saxon Academy of Arts and the Mainz Academy of Science and Literature.
As a creative writer, Lehnert is primarily a lyric poet, and he has published ten volumes of poetry with Suhrkamp, as well as publishing in renowned literary journals including the German Academy of Arts’s Sinn und Form. He has won prizes including the Eichendorff Prize for Literature (2016) and the Hölty Prize (2012). He has also written on theology and prayer, and edited Martin Luther’s Tischreden (Table Talk). Along with Phaedra, he has written librettos for Henze’s To the wind (2012), Samir Odeh Tamimi’s Behind the Wall (2010), Thomas Jennefelt’s Paul, The fearful waiting of the creature (2011), Sven Helbig’s The Noise of the World or The Revelation of Thomas Müntzer (2014) and Steffan Schleiermacher’s After Mark. Passion (2016).