But he didn’t want to start directing too soon. Thus, despite the experience of a few internships, he studied art history. He wrote a thesis on the unknown disciples of Arcimboldo and worked in a gallery, as well as at the Ernst Ludwig Kirchner archives in Switzerland. He did not return to opera until his mid-twenties, when he was accepted into the Theaterakademie in Munich.
Before ending there, he caught the attention of the opera world when, at age 28, he won the famous Ring Award in Graz, Austria, with something of a scandalous success.
He submitted two entries, then presented them in person, to the directing and design competition under different pseudonyms: a German and an American named Ginger Holiday – Kratzer in drag who, he said, “n’t wouldn’t have won ‘RuPaul. -Yale He didn’t end up using the video, just a photo of Ginger waving a Yale flag: “One of the most cherished photos of my life,” he said.
When Ginger introduced herself to the judges, they knew exactly who she was, but she still won some of the Ring’s smaller prizes. (That character, Kratzer said, is now shelved for good; these days he’s more likely to be seen wearing a T-shirt and baseball cap.) That’s the other character, however, who won the top prize, which involved directing the third act of “Rigoletto” for an audience that Kratzer said “included the crème de la crème of German stewards.”
Orders came quickly, which amused Kratzer; he had some fame without a single professional production on his resume. But in his early days, he tackled a large-scale repertoire that tends to stumble even seasoned directors: “Die Zauberflöte”, “Der Rosenkavalier”, a trio of works by Meyerbeer, “Tannhäuser”.