Symphony Concert N° 8

Herbert Blomstedt Conductor
State Opera Chorus Dresden Soprano

Igor Strawinsky

  • »Symphonie of Psalms«

Anton Bruckner

  • Symphony No. 6 in A major, WAB 106

Expressive power

Igor Stravinsky wrote the »Symphony of Psalms« in 1930 during a time when he in­creasingly – and often ironically – reverted to traditional forms. While such references can also be found in the setting of the 150th Psalm, including a double fugue in the sec­ond movement, there is absolutely no trace of irony. With immediacy and unwonted seri­ousness of expression, Stravinsky creates a psalm setting of unparalleled musical power. At the traditional Palm Sunday Concert, Herbert Blomstedt combines this impressive work with Anton Bruckner’s Sixth, once described by its creator as his »brashest« symphony.

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

  • 01.04.2023
    11:00 Uhr
    Semperoper
    Tickets
    Ticket price:
    43.00 – 78.00 €
  • 02.04.2023
    20:00 Uhr
    Semperoper
    Tickets
    Ticket price:
    32.00 – 108.00 €

Herbert Blomstedt

Conductor Laureate

The close relationship between Herbert Blomstedt and the Staatskapelle Dresden has now lasted for half a century. Following his debut with the orchestra in April 1969, he held the post of Principal Conductor from 1975 to 1985, a decade that is not only unforgettable musically, but which was also marked by difficult political conditions. In purely human terms, this was certainly a special chapter in the ensemble’s long history. Alongside the »local heroes« Wagner and Strauss, Herbert Blomstedt performed a wide repertoire during his time in Dresden, stretching from the Kapelle’s Baroque heritage to numerous world and German premieres. He recorded a vast number of works with the orchestra, and in 1985 conducted the first Staatskapelle concert in the newly rebuilt Semperoper. To the present day he has given more than 300 concerts with the Kapelle, including no fewer than ten appearances at the traditional Palm Sunday Concert, and has conducted a number of opera productions, formerly in the Dresden State Theatre. In 2007 the Staatskapelle awarded him its Golden Badge of Honour. In May 2016 he was named the orchestra’s Conductor Laureate, making him only the second conductor after Sir Colin Davis to hold this title.

Born in

the USA to Swedish parents, Herbert Blomstedt gave his conducting debut in 1954 with the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Later he led the Oslo Philharmonic as well as the Danish and Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestras in Copenhagen and Stockholm, respectively. He has been Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, Principal Conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg and the 19th Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. He is the Conductor Laureate of the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Leipzig, Copenhagen and Stockholm, the Bamberg Symphony and the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. As a guest conductor, Herbert Blomstedt works with the world’s top orchestras. In 2011 he enjoyed a late debut with the Vienna Philharmonic, paving the way for a series of collaborations with that ensemble. He is an elected member of the Royal Swedish Music Academy, holds a number of honorary doctorates and in 2003 was awarded the Order of Merit (Großes Verdienstkreuz) of the Federal Republic of Germany. In April 2016 he received the prestigious Léonie Sonning Music Prize of Denmark for his life’s work as an artist.

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.