German-born opera and theatre director Elke Neidhardt was born in Stuttgart on 5 July 1941, graduating there from the State University of Music and Performing Arts. She directed operas in Aix-en-Provence, Amsterdam, Salzburg, Vienna and Zurich.
After marrying Australian TV director Christopher Muir, she moved to Melbourne. From 1977 until 1990 she was Opera Australia's resident director. Returning to Germany, she worked at Oper Köln and directed three productions of Wagner's Ring.
Back in Australia, she was director for the first fully-staged Australian Parsifal, for Adelaide's State Opera of South Australia. She also directed the first complete modern Australian Ring Cycle, to great acclaim. She was bluntly critical, especially of the Australian opera scene and of conductors she worked with.
She had an additional career as an actress, appearing in Australian TV series and feature films.
Neidhardt took Australian citizenship in 2007, and in 2011 she became a Member of the Order of Australia. She died in Melbourne on 25 November 2013, aged seventy-two, during a new Ring Cycle staging by Neil Armfield.