He studied musicology and languages at the University of Bonn, music-theatre direction at Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, and singing at the Guildhall School of Music in London.
He made his debut as a director in Lucerne Theatre in 1989, where he later staged many performances. Between 1996 and 1998 he was senior director at the Staatstheater Saarbrücken (Germany). Since 1998, the guest director in the Opera Houses of Berlin, Dresden, Bonn, Mannheim, Vienna, Geneva, Hamburg, Göteborg, Nancy and others, where he staged Verdi’s Macbeth and Aida, Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Rossini’s El barbero de Sevilla and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci, and etc.
Participant of such music festivals as ‘Rossini in Wildbad’, Haydn Festival in Eisenstadt, ‘Cantiere d’Arte’ in Montepulciano. In 2007, his production of Puccini’s Tosca was the main event of the famous opera festival in Bregenz.
Set in 2011, Mozart's opera Cosi fan tutte under the guidance of Teodor Currentzis initiated the collaboration of the director with the maestro and Festspielhaus BadenBaden. So, in the Perm Opera Himmelmann put on Le nozze di Figaro (2012) and was nominated for the ‘Golden Mask’ Award in the category ‘Best Director’. In Baden-Baden he staged the trilogy of Mozart, as well as the operas Mephistophele by Boito and Tosca.
He has worked with Sir Simon Rattle, Fabio Luisi, Daniele Gatti, Thomas Hengelbrock, Christian Thielemann, Ivan Fischer, Michael Boder, Marcello Viotti, Reinhard Goebel and Adam Fischer. In his the near future plans are the production of the operas Don Carlos in Berlin, Vaughan-Williams' Going to the Sea and Purcell's Dido and Aeneas in Hamburg (May, 2017).
Mr. Himmelmann gives regular workshops at the Dresden College of Design, the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin and has recently been appointed professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg