Journalist and documentary producer Hans Christoph von Bock has covered the highlights of German musical life for over 20 years.
Born in Frankfurt, Hans Christoph von Bock grew up listening to Bach and Beethoven on records and on the piano at home and at school. He was exposed to rock and pop music on the American Forces Networks (AFN) radio and, in 1970, the musical documentary of Woodstock. His first encounter with Richard Wagner's music was in the Frankfurt Opera where he saw the titular figure in "Parsifal" save the ailing Grail knights. Fitting the character of the "innocent fool," stage director Ruth Berghaus had decked him out in short pants.
But his real awakening to Wagner came as a trainee at German TV station ZDF in Berlin. It was during a dress rehearsal of "The Valkyrie" at the Deutsche Oper Berlin: Enter Catharina Ligendza as Brünnhilde in the famous "time tunnel" production by Götz Friedrich. The sheer power of her theatrical intensity and the fascinating radiance of her voice overtook him. Since then, Richard Wagner's music dramas have never let go of Hans Christoph von Bock.
As a producer and reporter with RIAS-TV beginning in 1988 and, later, with Deutsche Welle, von Bock has regularly covered new productions in German opera houses, from the Salzburg Festival to the Green Hill in Bayreuth.
For his first musical documentary, he accompanied the Deutsche Oper Berlin as its members offered a guest performance of the complete "Ring" cycle in Washington DC ("Siegfried am Potomac" - Siegfried on the Potomac). In 1995, he travelled with conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin State Opera "Unter den Linden" to Jerusalem for a music documentary ("Mit Beethoven am Ölberg" - With Beethoven on the Mount of Olives). Further TV portraits followed with James Levine and the Munich Philharmonic ("Liebe auf den ersten Ton" - Love at First Sound), with Kent Nagano and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (DSO) in Japan ("Auf dem Weg zum Einklang" - On the Way to Harmony) and with Zubin Mehta and the Bavarian State Opera ("Der Sanfte General" - The Gentle General).