A »Dresden Program«: In 2005 Gaetano d’Espinosa – at this time assistant concert master of the 1st violins of the Staatskapelle – presented his own violin concerto in an Evening Recital. Later motivated by Fabio Luisi, d’Espinosa dedicated himself to conducting and convinced the Dresden audience, as he stepped in for Omer Meir Wellber at the Semperoper in 2019. Conducting a world premiere of the concerto for alto, violin and orchestra by the Dresden-based composer Jörg Herchet, d’Espinosa now debutes in a concert at the Staatskapelle alongside Christa Meyer and Reinhard Krauß.
Christa Mayer was born in Sulzbach-Rosenberg and studied singing at the Bayerische Singakademie and the Musikhochschule München. The ARD prizewinner has been a member of the Semperoper Dresden ensemble since 2001. Here she sings roles such as Ottavia (»L'incoronazione di Poppea«), Orlando (»Orlando«), Cornelia (»Giulio Cesare«), Fenena (»Nabucco«), Mrs. Quickly (»Falstaff«), Suzuki (»Madama Butterfly«), Erda, Fricka and Waltraute (»Der Ring des Nibelungen«), Brangäne (»Tristan und Isolde«), Gaea (»Daphne«), Gräfin Geschwitz (»Lulu«) and Auntie (»Peter Grimes«). In 2005 Christa Mayer was awarded the Christel Goltz Prize of the Foundation for the Promotion of the Semper Opera.
Guest performances led the artist to the opera houses in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Venice, Florence, Barcelona, Bilbao and Seville, to the Rheingau Music Festival and to the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival as well as to the Lucerne Festival. In 2007 Christa Mayer performed in La Fura dels Baus's »Ring«-production in Valencia under the baton of Zubin Mehta. In 2008 she made her debut as Erda and Waltraute at the Bayreuth Festival under the direction of Christian Thielemann and has been a regular guest in Bayreuth ever since. In the summer of 2018 she sang Brangäne in »Tristan und Isolde« and Mary in »Der fliegende Holländer«.
In concert performances she worked regularly with conductors such as Christian Thielemann, Herbert Blomstedt, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Chailly, Fabio Luisi, Ingo Metzmacher, Marek Janowski, Jonathan Nott, Sir Charles Mackerras, Sir Colin Davis and Simone Young. In 2015, Christa Mayer made her debut at the New National Theatre in Tokyo as Erda in »Das Rheingold« and was on the Easter tour of the Gustav Mahler Jungendorchester with Gustav Mahler's »Resurrection Symphony« conducted by Jonathan Nott in Lisbon, Madrid, Aix-en-Provence and Vienna. In 2018 she made her US-debut with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra under Jaap van Zweden.
Highlights of the 2016/17 season were Herodias in the new production »Salome« at the Semperoper, Erda in »Siegfried« at the NNT Tokyo and Fricka in »Die Walküre« at the Salzburg Easter Festival. In 2017/18 she appeared at the Semperoper as Didon in the new production »Les Troyens« as well as Brigitta in »Die tote Stadt« and in the cyclical performance of Wagner's »Ring« under Christian Thielemann as Fricka, Erda and Waltraute.
Reinhard Krauß was born in Dresden in 1956. Even before he was 5 years old, he began violin lessons with Annemarie Dietze as a pupil in the children's class at the Carl Maria von Weber Academy of Music in Dresden, who looked after him as a student at the Dresden Academy of Music until his successful graduation concert. He was a student of the Spezialschule für Musik Dresden, now the Landesgymnasium Carl Maria von Weber.
As first violinist he led the Krauß-Quartett Dresden for two decades.
With his string quartet, he not only regularly performed in chamber evenings and performance evenings of the Staatskapelle Dresden or in the "Gallery Concerts" and the concert series »Masterpieces-Master Interpreters«, but was also in demand nationally and internationally - among others in Paris, Stockholm, St. Petersburg, Singapore. During the numerous record, CD, radio and television productions, there was also successful collaboration with guests, including Theo Adam, Jutta Zoff, Hans-Detlef Löchner, Olaf Bär and Norman Shetler. From 2010 to 2012, Reinhard Krauß was a guest professor at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan, together with colleagues from the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics.
In 1978 Reinhard Krauß was engaged by the Staatskapelle under the then principal conductor Herbert Blomstedt. He has been concertmaster of the 2nd violins since 1995 and was awarded the title »Chamber Virtuosos« in 1998.