1994 Honorary Fellow
Born in Berlin, 1924, Ralph Koltai emigrated to the United Kingdom shortly before the war. As a stage designer, he worked initially in the field of opera, but in 1962 was engaged to design sets for the Royal Shakespeare Company and later the National Theatre of Great Britain. From 1965 to 1973 he was head of the School of Theatre Design at the Central School of Art and Design in London. At the same time his innovative and imaginative designs for the theatre brought him international renown as one of the most creative scenographers of his generation. He has designed more than 170 productions of opera, dance and drama in Europe, North America, Australia and Hong Kong. His best known works for the Royal Shakespeare Company include the Jew of Malta, Much Ado About Nothing, Cyrano de Bergerac and Othello; and for the National Theatre State of Revolution, The Wild Duck, Brand and Richard III. Among his many opera productions are Wagner’s Ring cycle for English National Opera, Tippett’s Icebreak and Maxwell Davies’ Taverner for the Royal Opera. Four-times winner of the London Drama Critics Designer of the Year Award, Ralph Koltai also shared the Individual Gold Medal at the Prague International Stage Design Exhibition in 1975 and the National Troika Trophy in 1979. Highly successful projects in Hong Kong have been designs for Happy Days and Rosmersholm for the 1978 Arts Festival, and his production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman (1987) and Verdi’s La Traviata (1990) also for the Hong Kong Arts Festival. He has conducted master classes and served as visiting teacher at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. I have the honour to present for the Fellowship award, Mr Ralph Koltai.