Olaf Freese was born in Berlin in 1968 and has worked as a lighting designer since 1992, following his technical training at the Berliner Ensemble and the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. His engagements include projects at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, the Residenztheater in Munich, the Hanover State Theatre, the Hamburg State Opera, the Vienna State Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He was the lighting designer for the Salzburg Festival’s productions of Macbeth in 2001 (directed by Calixto Bieito), Der Freischütz in 2007 (Falk Richter), Rusalka in 2009 (Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in 2013 (Stefan Herheim) and Fidelio in 2015 (Claus Guth).
Since 2007 Olaf Freese has worked at the Berlin State Opera. His lighting designs for the company include Phaedra (Peter Mussbach), Un ballo in maschera (Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito), Eugene Onegin (Achim Freyer), Lohengrin (Stefan Herheim), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Michael Thalheimer) and Claus Guth’s productions of AscheMOND oder The Fairy Queen by Helmut Oehring and Salome.
He has also collaborated with directors such as Vera Nemirova (Tommaso Traetta’s Antigona), Nikolaus Lehnhoff (Pelléas et Mélisande, Dialogues des Carmélites), Michael Thalheimer (Die Entführung aus dem Serail, The Oresteia, Goethe’s Faust, Der Freischütz) and Philipp Stölzl (Il trovatore, Orphée aux enfers).