Opera director Robert Lehmeier´s productions have been seen in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Vienna, Barcelona, the Netherlands, Brunswick, Mainz, Schwerin, Osnabrück, Dresden, Wiesbaden and many other venues. Since 2011 he has also regularly worked in South Africa (Cape Town, Potchefstroom and Johannesburg)
His productions include numerous first performances and premieres, amongst others the first production in German of Aulis Sallinens „The Palace“ (words by Irene Dische and Hans-Magnus Enzensberger) in 1998. For the opening night of the 2002 Munich Opera Festival he staged Hans-Jürgen von Bose’s Kafka opera „K-Projekt 12/14“. In Berlin he has regularly created new opera works in collaboration with Neuköllner Oper. „Angela – a national opera“ (Schwemmer/Frowin) about the then-chancellor candidate Angela Merkel gained international attention; followed by „Friendly Fire“ (Arp / Bisowski) and „Moshammeroper“ (Nellison / Hammerthaler). He also staged „Bordellbalade“ („The Brothel Ballad“, Moritz Eggert / Franzobel) in cooperation with the Kurt-Weill-Fest in Dessau.
His new version of „Cosi fan tutte“ for ten men was invited to Wiener Festwochen in Vienna. It was subsequently seen in a new production in Hamburg at Deutsches Schauspielhaus and then also toured to Switzerland and Barcelona (Gran Teatre del Liceu). His adaptation of the text of „Cosi fan tutte“ was nominated in the category „best German language piece of theatre“ in the annual critics’ poll of „Theater heute“. „Ariadne auf Naxos“ and „Werther“ were both nominated in the category „best production“ in the critics’ poll of „Opernwelt“ and Gurlitt’s „Wozzeck“ was nominated in the category „best performance“. „Der Zarewitsch“ received a distinction from Bayerischer Rundfunk.
Since 2011 he has been on the managing team of Umculo/Cape Festival which aims to reposition opera in South Africa (www.umculo.org). Purcell´s „King Arthur project“ 2011 was produced in collaboration with soloists and 200 young people in the townships of Cape Town. It was followed by Purcell’s „The Fairy Queen“, with premieres at the UJ Theatre Johannesburg and the Joseph-Stone Theatre in Cape Town in spring 2012 and more performances in 2013. Spring 2015 saw the premiere of „Comfort Ye“ at Artscape in Cape Town, a new opera with music by Handel and Cathy Milliken, written and directed by Lehmeier. This was followed by „The Marriage of Figaro“ in 2016 with students of North West University Potchefstroom. In September 2018 „Romeo’s passion“ premiered at the Hillbrow Theatre in Johannesburg, again based on a libretto by Lehmeier (music by Cathy Milliken).
„Comfort Ye“ received a YAMaward (Jeunesses Musicales/Reseo) for „Best Opera 2015“. In 2019 „Romeo´s Passion“ won the Yamaward in the same category. In the same year „Umculo“ received the „International Opera Award for Outreach and Education“ in London. In 2023, „At Your Doorstep/Vor Deiner Tür“ won the Yamaward category „best participatory project“.
On the occasion of the Beethoven anniversary 2020 Lehmeier staged five new chamber operas in Bucharest („Fidelio esti tu“), premiered as film. As curator and mentor he now is in charge of a two years project „Opera in Your Pocket“ promoting contemporary opera in Romania („Exzellenz-Projekt“ Goethe-Institut Bucharest).
For Dresdner Musikfestspiele Lehmeier wrote „Ludwig im Wald“, it premiered under his direction in June 2023.
„All Days for Future“ premiered in June 2021 in a film version as the first contribution for the three years project „First Contacts“ at Theater Bielefeld, aiming at young audiences and composers. March 2022 saw the world premiere of „Der Besucher“ (libretto and directing: Robert Lehmeier, composers Sebastian Molina/Andrei Petrache).
Commissioned by Niedersächsische Staatsoper Hannover, Lehmeier has translated „Denis and Katya“ (Phil Venables/Ted Huffman) into German, premiere 26th February 2022.
Lehmeier’s latest libretto „At Your Doorstep“ / “Vor Deiner Tür“ was coproduced by Market Theatre Johannesburg and Theater Bielefeld and opened on 29th March 2023 in both cities simultaneously.