Johannes Schaaf, German theatre and film director, was born in Stuttgart. He began his theatrical career as assistant to a theatre director in Stuttgart and then worked as a director himself in a theatre in Bremen.
In 1964 he turned his attention to the art of filmmaking and became one of leading of representatives of the "new German cinema". He has received several German film industry awards, including awards for his films, The Tattoo (1967) and Trotta (1972). In the 1970s he returned to the theatre. He has staged many productions by special invitation, and has been the principal director in theatres in Munich, Vienna and Frankfurt.
Since 1976 he has worked with the Salzburg Festival.
Since the middle of the 1980s, J. Schaaf has mainly been involved with opera. His main productions include Der Rosenkavalier (Strasbourg, 1996), Rigoletto (Stuttgart, 1994), Simon Boccanegra (Stuttgart, 1995), Aida (Zurich, 1997) and Otello (Stockholm, 1998), Idomeneo (Vienna, 1987, London, 1989), Le nozze di Figaro (London, 1987), Cosi fan tutte (London, 1989), Die Zauberflote (Salzburg, 1991), Boris Godunov (Munich, 1991, with Valery Gergiev), Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk (Stuttgart, 1992), Wozzeck (Stuttgart, 1993); Eugene Onegin (Amsterdam, 1997) and Pique Dame (Stuttgart, 1999), Oberon (Zurich, 1998).