Symphony Concert N° 5

Christian Thielemann Conductor
Anja Harteros Soprano
Georg Zeppenfeld Bass

Richard Strauss

  • Festive Music for the city of Vienna
  • Two Songs for bass and orchestra, Opus 51
  • Festive Prelude, Opus 61
  • »Tod und Verklärung« (Death and Transfiguration), Opus 24
  • »Four last songs«

Music to bid farewell

Richard Strauss sought »truly poetic content« as inspiration for his tone poems. In »Death and Transfiguration«, he found it in the final hours of a dying man, which he describes in painstaking detail through the language of music. Written in 1889, he returned to this piece years later, reworking some central motifs into the final of his »Four Last Songs«. Strauss-expert Christian Thielemann has chosen to precede both works with two oc­casional compositions rarely heard in con­cert: Festmusik, composed in gratitude for the awarding of the Beethoven Prize by the City of Vienna, and the Festliche Präludium, written to celebrate the opening of Vienna’s Konzerthaus in 1913.


A concert introduction is given 45 minutes before the start of the performance in the opera cellar.

  • 13.12.2020
    11:00 Uhr
  • 14.12.2020
    20:00 Uhr
  • 15.12.2020
    20:00 Uhr

Christian Thielemann

Principal Conductor

S Since 2012/13 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 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.

In previous seasons Christian Thielemann has contributed greatly to the birthday celebrations for Wagner and Strauss. 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 »Der Freischütz« and »Ariadne auf Naxos« while for the Salzburg Easter Festival he interpreted »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 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 Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner as well as numerous operas.

Christian Thielemann is an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London and holds honorary doctorates from the Franz Liszt University 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. He is patron of the Richard-Wagner-Stätten in Graupa as well as the 49th International youth competition »jugend creativ« of the Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken. In 2019 he was awarded honorary membership of the Gustav Mahler Society in Hamburg. His recordings have been showered with awards.

Anja Harteros

Anja Harteros is one of the most popular sopranos in the world today, regularly appearing at all the great opera houses and concert venues. At the young age of 23, while still studying at Cologne’s University of Music and Dance under Liselotte Hammes, she was engaged by the opera houses of Gelsenkirchen and Bonn. Her success in winning the »Cardiff Singer of the World« competition in 1999 was the first important step towards an international career that has seen her perform at such top opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala in Milan, the State Operas of Munich, Vienna, Berlin and Hamburg as well as the Semperoper Dresden. Anja Harteros has worked with renowned conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti and James Levine. In the current season she will sing at the 11th Symphony Concert under the baton of Christian Thielemann.

Nach dem Gewinn des Wettbewerbes »Cardiff Singer of the World 1999« folgte eine internationale Karriere mit Engagements an allen großen internationalen Opernhäusern wie der Metropolitan Opera, der Mailänder Scala, den Staatsopern in München, Wien, Berlin, Hamburg und der Semperoper Dresden. Sie arbeitet mit namhaften Dirigenten wie Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti und James Levine zusammen.

Georg Zeppenfeld


After initial engagements in Münster and Bonn, Georg Zeppenfeld joined the Semperoper Dresden in 2001, which he has subsequently made his artistic home. He has been a guest artist at Vienna’s State Opera, La Scala in Milan, the Glyndebourne Festival, the Salzburg Festival and New York’s Metropolitan Opera. 

At the Bayreuth Festival he was King Heinrich in »Lohengrin « and Veit Pogner in »Die Meistersinger«. In addition to his operatic work, Georg Zeppenfeld is in great demand as a concert singer, performing with many of the world’s premier orchestras.