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Travel journal - Dresden and the Staatskapelle Dresden

Tuesday, 6 November 2012 , ora 9.11
The first things to mention, in reference to the music in Dresden, are the famous Semperoper and the Staatskapelle Dresden, which was founded in 1548: it was and still is one of the most venerable and valuable symphonic ensembles of the world. The solid tradition it has, is a guarantee for both present and future. Among others, Heinrich Schütz, Johann Adolf Hasse, Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner, for whom the orchestra was invested with the qualities of a magnificent harp, have worked here. Over the last century the most illustrious conductors involved in the German musical life continued to appear before the audience: Karl Böhm, Joseph Keilberth, Rudolf Kempe, Otmar Suiter, Kurt Sanderling, Herbert Blomstedt and Giuseppe Sinopoli. The famous composer and conductor Richard Strauss has had an affiliation to Dresden's musicians for over 60 years. His grand achievement, An Alpine Symphony, is dedicated to the Staatskapelle Dresden. Most of Strauss's scores were given famous interpretations in Dresden.

Contemporary conductors

Bernard Haitink was the principal conductor here between 2002 and 2004, followed by Fabio Luisi, between 2007 and 2010. Maestro Christian Thielemann occupies the position of principal conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden at present. By his side stand Sir Collin Davis, honorary conductor ever since 1990 and Myung-Whun Chung, who holds the position of principal guest conductor in Dresden for the 2012 - 2013 season.

On the 1st of September Christian Thielemann made his official entrance as the principal conductor of the famous Staatskapelle Dresden with the first concert of the 2012 - 2013 season. On the schedule: Songs for soprano and orchestra by Hugo Wolf, soloist Renée Fleming and Symphony No. 7 by Anton Bruckner.

The current season of the Staatskapelle Dresden

The Staatskapelle will perform again, both on stage, in the symphonic concerts, and in the orchestra pit, at the opera performances. Thereby, the new principal conductor in Dresden, Christian Thielemann, will also conduct on the evening of November the 18th, 2012 his first lyrical spectacle - The Knight of the Rose in an exceptional distribution: the Marschallin - Soile Isokoski, of Finnish origin, who is one of the most appreciated soprano voices of the moment, and Octavian - the German mezzo-soprano Daniela Sindram, who also interpreted this role at Mannheim and at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

The Knight of Rose will be followed by performances that were already included in the repertoire, among which Lohengrin by Richard Wagner, new productions like Manon Lescaut by Puccini (premiering on the 2nd of March 2013) and, in co-production with The Ester Festival from Salzburg, a Parsifal, also at Semperoper in Dresden. The orchestra will also be involved in the Ester Festival, where, beginning in 2013, Christian Thielemann will assume the position of Artistic Director.

The conductor Christian Thielemann

… was born in Berlin, in a family of music-lovers. His carrier debuted in 1978, when he was hired as rehearsal pianist at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. Following positions in Gelsenkirchen, Karlsruhe and Hannover, in 1985 Thielemann joined the Opera in Düsseldorf, as chief conductor. In 1988 he became the youngest music director - Generalmusikdirektor - at Nuremberg, after which, in 1997, he returned to the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, holding the same position there for seven years.

Then came a new step ahead in his exceptional career - from 2004 to 2011 he was Generalmusikdirektor at the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. In the summer of 2012 he opted for the position of Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden.

For the 2012 - 2013 season, the orchestral repertoire introduces two masterworks: Richard Wagner, celebrating 200 years since the composer was born, and Hans Werner Henze, one of the most appreciated German composers, who departed this life October 27th, 2012 in the 85th year of his age. The program of the season is of course ample and ambitious. Continuing the tradition, there will be great conductors, instrumentalists and singers, among which: Vladimir Jurowski, David Afkham, Herbert Blomstedt, Jonathan Nott, Maurizio Pollini, Diana Damrau, Piotr Beczala, Andreas Kißling, Emanuel Ax, Hélène Grimaud. The musicians in Dresden will also organize international tours in Beijing, Chicago, Washington, New York, Vienna, Paris.

Cristina Sârbu
Translated by Marcela Zorland and Oana Puiu
MTTLC, Bucharest