ZDF Advent Concert

Christian Thielemann Conductor
Diana Damrau Soprano
Benjamin Appl Baritone
State Opera Chorus Dresden

Getting into the Yuletide spirit

By now it has become a beloved tradition: At the beginning of December, the Staatskapelle launches the Advent season for its local audience as well as television viewers with this concert from the Frauenkirche, a building that represents not only civic-mindedness but also understanding and reconciliation. The concert programme ensures a balanced atmosphere of reflection and contemplation filled with moments of beauty and inspiration. On the rostrum: Principal Conductor Christian Thielemann.

Ticketsale
Georg-Treu-Platz 3 | 1. OG
01067 Dresden
phone: +49 351 656 06 701
fax: +49 351 656 06 108
E-Mail: ticket@frauenkirche-dresden.de

An event of the Frauenkirche Foundation in cooperation with the ZDF and the Commerzbank

Date of broadcast: 3 December 2017, from 6:00 p.m. on ZDF
  • 02.12.2017
    18:00 Uhr
    Frauenkirche

Christian Thielemann

Principal Conductor

Brahms and Bruckner cycles, tours to Asia, the USA and through Europe, the debut at the Salzburg Easter Festival as well as numerous concerts and opera performances featuring works by those two local gods, Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss – Christian Thielemann’s first two seasons as Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle have seen a whirlwind of activity.

Thielemann began his professional career in 1978 as a rehearsal pianist at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. Following positions in Gelsenkirchen, Karlsruhe and Hanover he joined the conducting staff of the Rhine Opera in Dusseldorf in 1985. Three years later he moved to Nuremberg to become Germany’s youngest Generalmusikdirektor before returning to the Deutsche Oper in his hometown of Berlin in 1997, holding the position of Music Director for seven years. More recently Thielemann led the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra from 2004 to 2011. In addition to his current position in Dresden, Thielemann was appointed Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival in 2013, the same year in which the Staatskapelle became the festival’s resident orchestra.

Christian Thielemann maintains close links with both the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras. He has also been a leading light at the Bayreuth Festival since his debut there in the summer of 2000 with Wagner’s »Meistersinger«, returning year after year to thrill audiences with benchmark interpretations.

From June 2015 he has also been Music Director of the festival. 

Thielemann is a popular guest at the Salzburg Summer Festival. For his work on Strauss’s »Die Frau ohne Schatten« at the 2011 festival he was voted »Conductor of the Year« by »Opernwelt« magazine. In great demand as a versatile concert conductor, he has collaborated with the top orchestras of Amsterdam, London, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, as well as performing in Israel, Japan and China.

As a UNITEL exclusive artist, Christian Thielemann has a comprehensive catalogue of recordings. In addition to the New Year’s Eve Concerts from 2010 to 2013, he and the Staatskapelle have already recorded numerous symphonic works by Beethoven, Liszt, Brahms, Bruckner, Reger, Pfitzner and Busoni as well as »Ariadne auf Naxos« by Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner’s »Parsifal« for CD and DVD. Their most recent release is a complete cycle of Brahms’ symphonies. Together with the Vienna Philharmonic he has recorded all of Beethoven’s symphonies for CD and DVD.

Christian Thielemann is an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London and holds honorary doctorates from the Franz Liszt College of Music in Weimar and the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. In May 2015 he was awarded the Richard Wagner prize by the Richard Wagner Society of the city of Leipzig.

Diana Damrau

Soprano Diana Damrau has been performing on the world’s leading opera and concert stages for two decades. Her vast repertoire spans both lyric soprano and coloratura roles including the title roles in »Lucia di Lammermoor«, »Manon Lescaut« and »La traviata« as well as Queen of the Night in »The Magic Flute«.

Invested as Kammersängerin of the Bavarian State Opera (2007) and holder of the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art (2010), Diana Damrau has forged close links with the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich where she has been in numerous new productions. The MET in New York has been a house in which the soprano has performed her signature roles, been broadcast in HD to cinemas globally and made seven role debuts since her own debut there as Zerbinetta in 2005.

Diana Damrau has twice participated in the annual inaugural performance at La Scala di Milano; in 2004 in the title role of Salieri’s »Europa Riconosciuta« at the house’s grand reopening and in 2013 as the title role in a new production of »La traviata« to commemorate Verdi’s 200th anniversary.
 

The soprano has also performed contemporary works for the opera stage in roles written especially for her, most notably as the title role in Iain Bell’s operatic adaptation of »Hogarth’s A Harlot’s Progress« (Theater an der Wien 2013) and as Drunken Woman/Gym Instructress in Lorin Maazel’s »1984« (Royal Opera House 2005).

Diana Damrau has established herself as one of today’s most sought-after interpreters of song, regularly performing at venues such as Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Berlin’s Philharmonie and the Salzburg Festival. She enjoys close artistic partnerships with pianists Helmut Deutsch and Craig Rutenberg and frequently performs in recital with harpist Xavier de Maistre. 
 

Benjamin Appl

Described as »the current front-runner in the new generation of Lieder singers« (Gramophone Magazine, UK), Benjamin Appl is celebrated by audiences and critics in recital, concerts and opera. The German baritone was a BBC New Generation Artist and an ECHO Rising Star artist for the 2015/2016 season, appearing in recital at major European venues. He became an exclusive SONY Classical recording artist in May 2016 and won the Gramophone Young Artist of the Year Award in 2016.

He trained as a chorister at the renowned Regensburger Domspatzen and continued his studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München and graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. He had the fortune to be mentored by one of the greatest singers, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Conductors he has worked with include Marin Alsop, Christian Curnyn, Johannes Debus, Edward Gardner, Michael Hofstetter, Bernard Labadie, Alessandro de Marchi, Paul McCreesh, Roger Norrington, Christoph Poppen, Jordi Savall and Ulf Schirmer.
 

In concert he has appeared with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Gabrieli Players & Consort, Les Violons du Roy, the Bach Collegium Stuttgart, and on multiple occasions with the major BBC Orchestras. He made his BBC Proms debut in September 2015 singing Brahms’ »Triumphlied« with Marion Alsop and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Orff’s »Carmina Burana« with the BBC Concert. His oratorio repertoire includes Bach’s Magnificat, »St John« and »St Matthew Passions«, Brahms’ »Ein deutsches Requiem«, Händel’s »The Messiah«, Haydn’s »The Creation« and Britten’s »War Requiem«.

An established recitalist, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Ravinia, Rheingau Musik Festival and Oxford Lieder Festival, deSingel Antwerp, Heidelberger Frühling, and with Graham Johnson at the KlavierFestival Ruhr. He is a regular recitalist at the Wigmore Hall and at the Schubertiade Hohenems and Schwarzenberg. He works closely together with pianists including Graham Johnson, Malcolm Martineau, Helmut Deutsch, James Baillieu and Martin Stadtfeld.
 

State Opera Chorus Dresden

Had it not been for Carl Maria von Weber, Dresden’s opera chorus would not have been founded, or at least not on October 8, 1817. It was Weber who obtained royal approval for this initiative; after all, it was his artistic mission (and personal ambition) to establish a German opera company alongside the tradition-steeped Italian opera. Besides suggesting other reforms for the staging of opera, he argued that it was now essential to have a regular choir. The choir started to participate in the traditional Palm Sunday concerts as early as 1827. Major landmarks in its history include the performances in 1846, 1847 and 1849 of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under the later Kapellmeister Richard Wagner, who was forced to flee Dresden shortly after the last-mentioned performance.

Currently comprising 89 singers, the Dresden State Opera Chorus has now become one of Europe’s finest opera choruses and has been acclaimed as such in virtually every premiere review in recent years. This preservation of tradition, coupled with a growing awareness of quality, is indebted to such artists as Joseph Metzner, Wilhelm Fischer, Karl Maria Pembaur, Ernst Hintze, Gerhart Wüstner, Franz Peter Müller-Sybel, Hans-Dieter Pflüger, Matthias Brauer and Pablo Assante, who have led the choir through difficult times to the present day. The Dresden State Opera Chorus is currently directed by Jörn Hinnerk Andresen, who since assuming his post in 2014 has maintained and developed such qualities as tonal coherence, refinement and reliably consistent precision.

The State Opera Chorus of today has to a significant degree been shaped by its collaboration with the conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli, who died far too early and dedicated much time and effort to developing the choir’s artistic potential. Nowadays, the choir frequently demonstrates its qualities in operatic productions and concert performances. Radio, television and CD recordings bear further testimony to the immense prowess on account of which the State Opera Chorus is much sought after in many places besides Dresden: the choir receives invitations to perform at festivals, on tours and in concerts and has since 2013 worked together with the Staatskapelle Dresden at the Salzburg Easter Festival, which has been directed by Christian Thielemann ever since. October 8, 2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Dresden State Opera Chorus.