Claus is a sort of de facto bigger cousin of mine. In 1992, I was spending the summer in Munich after college, where Claus was working on the equivalent of his Masters Thesis, or whatever they call it for opera directors. He had chosen to direct Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
So I joined up as stage crew. I don’t recall contributing anything remotely useful, although I do recall being mightily impressed with the whole scene and with Claus, even if I did not yet appreciate Virgil’s underlying story as I do now. (I think that picture above is of Dido on that stage.)
And what a career that production launched! The next time I saw one of Claus’s opera’s, it was in Salzburg, where he was opening the Festival with Mozart’s Idomeneo. And it’s gone straight up from there.