Salzburg Easter Festival: Choral Concert Thielemann

Christian Thielemann Conductor
Camilla Nylund Soprano
Elena Zhidkova Mezzosoprano
Saimir Pirgu Tenor
Franz-Josef Selig Bass
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Anton Bruckner

  • Hymnus »Vexilla regis« WAB 51
  • Symphony No. 9 in d minor
  • Te Deum in C major for Soloist, Choir, Orchestra and Organ, WAB 45

Christian Thielemann

Principal Conductor

Since the 2012/2013 season Christian Thielemann has been 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 held 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.

In previous seasons Christian Thielemann has contributed greatly to the birthday celebrations for Wagner, Strauss and Beethoven. At the same time he has explored a wide range of music from Bach to Henze, Rihm and Gubaidulina in Dresden and on tour. In the Semperoper he recently conducted new productions of »Ariadne auf Naxos« and »Capriccio« while for the Salzburg Easter Festival he interpreted »Die Walküre«, »Tosca« and »Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg«.

Christian Thielemann maintains close ties to the Berlin Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic, whose New Year’s Concert he conducted in 2019. Following his debut at the Bayreuth Festival in 2000, he has

returned every year to thrill audiences with benchmark interpretations. After serving five years as the festival’s Musical Advisor, in June 2015 he became its Music Director. In addition, he has been invited to conduct the leading orchestras of Europe, the United States, Israel and Asia.

As a UNITEL exclusive artist, Christian Thielemann has a comprehensive catalogue of recordings. His most recent projects with the Staatskapelle have been to record the symphonies of Anton Bruckner and Robert Schumann, Arnold Schoenberg’s »Gurre-Lieder« as well as numerous operas. Christian Thielemann is an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London, honorary professor at Dresden’s Carl Maria von Weber College of Music and holds honorary doctorates from the Franz Liszt University of Music in Weimar and the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. In 2003 he was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In May 2015 he received the Richard Wagner Prize from the Richard Wagner Society of the city of Leipzig, followed by the Prize from the Semperoper Trust in October 2016. He is patron of the Richard-Wagner-Stätten in Graupa. His recordings have been showered with awards.

Camilla Nylund

Camilla Nylund, born in Vaasa (Finland), first studied with Eva Illes, later in the opera and song class at the Mozarteum in Salzburg. In December 1995 the International Mozarteum Foundation awarded her the Lilli Lehmann Medal for her outstanding achievements.

After a permanent engagement in Hanover, Camilla Nylund belonged to the ensemble of the Semperoper Dresden during the seasons 1999/2000 to 2001/2002. In addition to her Dresden engagements, she became more and more a sought-after guest at the most important opera houses. She has sung in Venice, Hamburg, Zurich, Salzburg, Cologne and Vienna.

This was followed by Camilla Nylund's debut at the Vienna State Opera, the Scala in Milan and in Chicago, under Sir Simon Rattle at the Berlin Philharmonie, with Henze's »Floss der Medusa«, at the New National Theatre Tokyo, her debut at the Salzburg Festival and at the Bastille in Paris, Berlin and Valencia under Zubin Mehta. In summer 2011 Camilla Nylund made her debut at the Bayreuth Festival, followed by invitations for this role at the 2013 and 2014 Festivals. In 2013 she made her highly acclaimed role debut as Sieglinde in »Die Walküre« at the Wiener Staatsoper – she also interpreted this role later at the Bayreuth Festival in 2017.

Recent engagements include last year's debut in »Der Rosenkavalier« at the Metropolitan Opera New York, as Kaiserin in »Die Frau ohne Schatten« at Wiener Staatsoper under the baton of Christian Thielemann and as Eva in »Die Meistersinger« at Salzburg Easter Festival and in Dresden.

Camilla Nylund also sings regularly on important concert stages with leading conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Sir Simon Rattle, Marek Janowski, Fabio Luisi, Ingo Metzmacher and Yakov Kreizberg.

Elena Zhidkova

Mezzo soprano Elena Zhidkova made her professional debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. She appeared at the Bayreuth Festival. Claudio Abbado invited her for the concert version of PARSIFAL, for Schumann’s FAUSTSZENEN and for his farewell concert at the Berlin Philharmonic where she appeared again in Händel’s JEPHTA under the baton of Nikolaus Harnoncourt. At the Teatro Real in Madrid she debuted as Waltraute (»Götterdämmerung«) and as Brangäne in »Tristan und Isolde«. A highly sought after guest performer in Tokyo as well she could be heard at the New National Theatre Tokyo among others as Octavian (»Der Rosenkavalier«), Fricka (»Der Ring des Nibelungen«) and Brangäne (»Tristan und Isolde«). She debuted very successfully as Judith in Bartok’s »Duke Bluebeard’s Castle« at the Teatro alla Scala, a role she has also created at the Barbican Hall London with the London Symphony Orchestra under Valéry Gergiev (published on CD). Her interpretation of Judith (»Duke Bluebeard’s Castle«) at the Mariinsky Theatre gained her the »Golden Mask« award as best singing actress in Russia. She was invited to sing the same part under Seiji Ozawas at the Saito Kinen Festival (also published on CD). Her appearance as Fricka (»Der Ring des Nibelungen«) could be witnessed at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and in the new production of the tetralogy at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. She could be seen as Venus in »Tannhäuser« at the Semperoper Dresden, as Ortrud in »Parsifal« at the Bayreuth Festival and sang Marie (»Wozzeck«) with the BBC Orchestra under Donald Runnicles and in a new production at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

As Kundry (»Parsifal«) she appeared in Lyon, Mannheim and Düsseldorf. She has sung La Principessa di Bouillon (»Adriana Lecouvreur«), The Foreign Princess (»Rusalka«), Eboli (»Don Carlo«) and Kundry (»Prasifal«) at the Wiener Staatsoper, Charlotte (»Werther«) under Michel Plasson, as well her debut as Ortrud (»Lohengrin«). She enjoyed great success as Didon in Berlioz’ »Les Troyens«, as Amneris in »Aida« and Eboli (»Don Carlos«) at the Hamburgische Staatsoper, as Eboli at the Bolshoi, as Judith in »Duke Bluebeard’s Castle« in Dresden and as Santuzza in »Cavalleria Rusticana« at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Opéra Bastille Paris. She celebrated a triumphant success at the Bayreuth Festival in the summer of 2019. Shortly before the festival premiere of the new production of »Tannhäuser«, she took over the role of Venus and was warmly acclaimed for her performance by the international press.

Saimir Pirgu

Saimir Pirgu zählt zu den gefragtesten Stars der internationalen Opernlandschaft und feiert regelmäßig Erfolge an allen großen Opernbühnen wie der Metropolitan Opera New York, der Wiener Staatsoper, der Mailänder Scala, dem Royal Opera House Covent Garden, der Pariser Oper, dem Bolschoi-Theater von Moskau, der Berliner Staatsoper und Deutschen Oper, dem Opernhaus Zürich, dem Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, der San Francisco Opera und der Arena di Verona. Pirgu studierte bei Vito Maria Brunetti am Konservatorium von Bozen und perfektionierte seine Technik mit Luciano Pavarotti. Mit 22 Jahren wurde er von Claudio Abbado ausgewählt, unter seiner musikalischen Leitung als Ferrando in Così fan tutte in Ferrara zu debütieren. In dieser Partie gab der Künstler 2004 als jüngster Sänger in einer Hauptrolle sein Debüt bei den Salzburger Festspielen dirigiert von Philippe Jordan. Erfolge der letzten Jahre umfassen unter anderem Rigoletto am Royal Opera House Covent Garden, an der Wiener Staatsoper und am Opernhaus Zürich, La traviata an der Metropolitan Opera New York, dem Royal Opera House Covent Garden, der Berliner Staatsoper und Deutschen Oper, Riccardo in Un ballo in maschera in Tel Aviv dirigiert von Zubin Mehta und am Teatro Regio in Parma, L’elisir d’amore an der Wiener Staatsoper und an der Deutschen Oper Berlin, Die Zauberflöte an der Mailänder Scala, La clemenza di Tito an der Opéra National de Paris, La bohème und Roméo et Juliette am Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Madama Butterfly am Opernhaus Zürich, Werther am New National Theatre in Tokyo, La damnation de Faust am Bolschoi-Theater in Moskau und im Wiener Konzerthaus, Lucia di Lammermoor, Simon Boccanegra und Madama Butterfly am Teatro San Carlo in Neapel Rigoletto und Don Giovanni an der Arena di Verona, Shepherd in Krol Roger am Royal Opera House Covent Garden und am Opernhaus von Sydney, Verdis Messa da Requiem bei den Salzburger Festspielen, im Wiener Musikverein, mit dem Bayerischen Rundfunk, im Concertgebouw Amsterdam, im Palau de la Musica Barcelona und im Palau de les Arts Valencia.

Der Tenor hat mit vielen der wichtigsten Dirigenten wie etwa Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Lorin Maazel, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Mariss Jansons, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Seiji Ozawa, John Eliot Gardiner, James Conlon, Antonio Pappano, Daniele Gatti, Gianandrea Noseda und Tugan Sokhiev gearbeitet. Unter den Regisseuren, mit denen Saimir Pirgu gearbeitet hat finden sich große Namen wie Franco Zeffirelli, Woody Allen, Peter Stein, Graham Vick, Willy Decker, Deborah Warner, Luca Ronconi, Kasper Holten, David McVicar, Ferzan Ozpetek, Mario Martone, Michael Haneke und Robert Carsen. Im Jahr 2013 wurde ihm die renommierte Auszeichnung »Pavarotti d'Oro« verliehen.

Franz-Josef Selig

The renowned international bass, Franz-Josef Selig, has performed at all of the major opera houses in the world, including the Bavarian State Opera, Vienna State Opera, La Scala, Teatro Real Madrid, Paris Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera New York, as well as at renowned festivals such as the Bayreuth, Baden Baden, and Salzburg Festivals, and the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. His vast repertoire includes the roles of Gurnemanz, König Marke, Sarastro, Rocco, Osmin, Daland, Fiesco, and Fasolt. He has worked with numerous eminent orchestras under the batons of esteemed conductors including Sir Colin Davis, Christian Thielemann, Sir Simon Rattle, Marek Janowski, Zubin Mehta, Semyon Bychkov, Riccardo Muti, Yannick Nezét-Séguin, Antonio Pappano, Philippe Jordan, Daniel Harding, and many others. The artist completed his studies in sacred music at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Cologne before making the move to the singing class of Claudio Nicolai. His start in the profession came in the form of a contract as an ensemble member of the Aalto-Theater in Essen, a position he held for six years, before embarking on his freelance career. Numerous international opera projects are scheduled for 2020/21: Fidelio performances under Zubin Mehta in Munich, Pelleas et Melisande in Toulouse with Leo Hussain, Parsifal in Tokyo with Marek Janowski, Tannhäuser under David Afkham in Barcelona and a new production of Tristan und Isolde conducted by Sir Simon Rattle in Aix-en-Provence. Unfortunately the production of Tristan und Isolde under Esa-Pekka Salonen in Los Angeles and the revival of Jürgen Flimm's production of Fidelio at the MET under chief conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin fell victim to cancellations due to the worldwide corona pandemic. In addition to his many concert and opera engagements, the artist also finds time for recitals, most recently with Gerold Huber in London, Madrid, Katowice and Cologne. His new song programme with Gerold Huber at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels is scheduled for November 2021.

The artistic range of this extraordinary singer is documented by his diverse CD and DVD recordings - from Bach's St. Matthew Passion to Mozart's Magic Flute (Royal Opera London/Sir Colin Davis), Don Giovanni (Vienna State Opera/Riccardo Muti), Le nozze di Figaro (Salzburg Festival/Nikolaus Harnoncourt), Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Gran Teatre del Liceu/Ivor Bolton/Christoph Loy) to L'incoronazione di Poppea (Gran Teatre del Liceu/David Alden/Harry Bicket). He recorded the part of Gurnemanz in Wagner's Parsifal under Christian Thielemann (Vienna State Opera, released by Deutsche Grammophon) as well as with Marek Janowski and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (Pentatone). The DVD of the production Der Ring des Nibelungen (DG, production of the Metropolitan Opera New York, 2010) with Franz-Josef Selig as Fasolt received the Grammy Award for best opera recording in 2013. Franz-Josef Selig can be seen on the DVD of Der fliegende Holländer from the 2013 Bayreuth Festival (Thielemann/Gloger). Further CD releases by Deutsche Grammophon include the 2014 production of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail conducted by Yannick Nezét-Séguin, and subsequently the 2018 production of Die Zauberflöte, both from the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. His first solo recital CD entitled Prometheus (AVI) with songs by Schubert, Wolf and Strauss, and accompanied by Gerold Huber was released in June 2014.

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks

The Bavarian Radio Chorus, founded in 1946, is the oldest of the station’s three ensembles. Responsibility for the chorus’s development is traditionally held by the chorus director as well as the conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Illustrious former principal conductors who have left their mark on the chorus are Eugen Jochum, Rafael Kubelik, Sir Colin Davis, Lorin Maazel and Mariss Jansons. The chorus’s artistic director since 2005 has been Peter Dijkstra from the Netherlands. With a stylistically diverse repertoire ranging from medieval motets to contemporary choral works, from oratorios to operas, the Bavarian Radio Chorus is renowned around the world for its breathtaking homogeneity of tone.

und Mariss Jansons. Künstlerischer Leiter des Chores ist seit 2005 der Niederländer Peter
Dijkstra. Aufgrund der klanglichen Homogenität des Chores und seiner stilistischen Vielseitigkeit, die alle Gebiete des Chorgesangs von der mittelalterlichen Motette bis zu zeitgenössischen Werken, vom Oratorium bis zur Oper umfasst, genießt das Ensemble höchstes Ansehen in aller Welt.