ZDF Advent Concert

Christian Thielemann Conductor
Diana Damrau Soprano
Tuuli Takala Sopran
Benjamin Appl Baritone
Helmut Fuchs Trumpet
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.

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

Expected running time: 60 min.

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

Christian Thielemann

Principal Conductor

The 2018 / 2019 season is Christian Thielemann’s seventh as Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden. Following engagements at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in Gelsenkirchen, Karlsruhe, Hanover and Dusseldorf, in 1988 he moved to Nuremberg to occupy the post of Generalmusikdirektor. In 1997 he returned to his hometown of Berlin to direct the Deutsche Oper until 2004, when he became Music Director of the Munich Philharmonic, a post he occupied until 2011. In addition to his current position in Dresden, Thielemann has been Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival since 2013, where the Staatskapelle is resident orchestra.

Christian Thielemann has contributed to the birthday celebrations for Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss with numerous Staatskapelle concerts in the Semperoper and on tour. His programmes have also featured a wide range of music from Bach to Henze, Rihm and Gubaidulina. He conducted new productions of »Manon Lescaut«, »Simon Boccanegra«, »Elektra« and »Der Frei schütz« as well as two complete performances of Wagner’s »Ring« Cycle in Dresden. In Salzburg he directed the premieres of »Parsifal«, »Arabella«, »Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci«, »Otello«, »Die Walküre« and »Tosca«. 

Christian Thielemann maintains close ties to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, whose New Year’s Concert he will conduct in 2019. Since his debut at the Bayreuth Festival in the summer of 2000, he has returned every year to thrill audiences with groundbreaking interpretations. After five years as musical advisor in Bayreuth, he was appointed the festival’s music director in 2015. Much in demand as a versatile concert conductor, he has collaborated with the world’s leading orchestras in Amsterdam, London, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, and has also performed in Israel, Japan and China.

As a UNITEL exclusive artist, Christian Thielemann has a comprehensive catalogue of recordings. His most recent ventures have been the recordings of Anton Bruckner’s symphonies Nos. 1 and 3-9, a complete cycle of the symphonies and solo concertos of Johannes Brahms as well as the operas »Der Freischütz«, »Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci«, »Elektra«, »Die Walküre« and »Lohengrin« for CD or DVD. With the Staatskapelle Dresden he has recorded symphonic works by Beethoven, Liszt, Bruckner, Reger, Pfitzner and Busoni as well as various New Year’s Eve Concerts released on DVD. He has recorded all of Beethoven’s symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic.

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, followed by the prize of the Semperoper Trust in October 2016.

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. 

Tuuli Takala

Tuuli Takala wurde in Finnland geboren und studierte an der Sibelius-Akademie in Helsinki und an der Fachhochschule Helsinki Metropolia. Die Sopranistin ist Preisträgerin mehrerer Wettbewerbe und errang u.a. den 1. Preis beim Timo Mustakallio Gesangswettbewerb sowie beim Kangasniemi Gesangswettbewerb in Finnland. Darüber hinaus war sie Finalistin und Preisträgerin des Arnold Schönberg Center Spezialpreises beim 8. Internationalen Hilde Zadek Gesangswettbewerb in Wien und Finalistin und Sonderpreisträgerin beim Hans Gabor Belvedere Gesangswettbewerb in Amsterdam im Jahr 2015.

Tuuli Takala gab 2013 ihr Operndebüt als Königin der Nacht (»Die Zauberflöte«) an der Finnischen Nationaloper in Helsinki. Seitdem führte sie diese Rolle u.a. an die Semperoper Dresden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Komische Oper Berlin, nach Essen, Klagenfurt und zu den Opernfestspielen Savonlinna in Finnland. 

Andere wichtige Partien waren Susanna (»Le nozze di Figaro«) an der Finnischen Nationaloper in Helsinki, Zerlina (»Don Giovanni«) bei den Opernfestspielen in Savonlinna, Gilda (»Rigoletto«) in Dresden und Savonlinna sowie aktuell Olympia (»Les Contes d’Hoffmann«), Waldvogel (»Siegfried«) und Blonde (»Die Entführung aus dem Serail«) an der Semperoper Dresden. Von 2015 bis 2017 war Tuuli Takala hier Mitglied im Jungen Ensemble; seit 2017/18 ist sie festes Ensemblemitglied der Semperoper.

Tuuli Takala ist auch als Liedinterpretin und im Konzertbereich aktiv. So sang sie bspw. Bachs »Weihnachtsoratorium«, die »Johannes-Passion« und die Messe in h-Moll, Händels »Messias«, Mozarts Requiem oder Brahms‘ »Ein deutsches Requiem« u.a. in London, Wien und Tokyo.

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.

Helmut Fuchs

Principal Trumpet

Helmut Fuchs, born in1984 in Oberndorf bei Salzburg, started his education at the age of six with trumpet lessons at the Musikschulwerk Salzburg with Martin Mühlfellner. In 2001 he switched to Igor Oder with whom he was also studying during his time at the Militärmusik Salzburg (20013-2004). In 2004 he started his trumpet studies at the Mozarteum University Salzburg with Gottfried Menth. In 2005 he carried on at the University of Music and the performing Arts Vienna and studied with Josef Pomberger. In addition to his education as a concert instrumentalist he also studied instrumental education. He finished both studies in 2009/2012 with honours.

Already during his studies up until now he is substituting in some of the most prestigious orchestras of Austria (like the Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, the Vienna Philharmonics, the Tonkünstler-Orchester Niederösterreich, the Vienna Symphonics, the Bruckner Orchester Linz as well as the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg).

In 2014 he joined the Opera de Nice as trumpeter and since 2016 he is Solo trumpeter at the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden.

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.