Symphony Concert N° 9

Christian Thielemann Conductor
Diana Damrau Soprano
State Opera Chorus Dresden

Richard Strauss

  • »Tod und Verklärung« (Death and Transfiguration), Opus 24
  • Transformation scene from »Daphne«, Opus 82
  • Symphonic Fragment from »Die Liebe der Danae«
  • »Besinnung« for choir and orchestra
  • Final Scene from »Capriccio«, Opus 85

Between life and death

Richard Strauss’s preoccupation with mortality began when he was not even 25 years old. Yet »Death and Transfiguration« was not intended, as often assumed, to be a reflection on his two serious bouts of lung disease in 1891/92, but rather the attempt to illustrate through mu­sic the final moments in a person’s life. This probably explains why the work is so matter-of-fact, almost cool in its approach, and lacking any philosophical-literary background. The opera »Die Liebe der Danae«, described as a »cheerful mythology«, is something entirely different: first performed after Strauss’s death, the conductor of the premiere, Clemens Krauss, created a symphonic fragment by combining vibrant passages largely drawn from the second and third acts.

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

Das Konzert wird von MDR Klassik mitgeschnitten und zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt gesendet.
  • 15.04.2023
    19:00 Uhr
    Semperoper
  • 16.04.2023
    11:00 Uhr
    Semperoper
    Tickets
    Ticket price:
    20.00 – 108.00 €

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 of the Semperoper Trust in October 2016 and an honorary award of the state of Salzburg in April 2022. He is patron of the Richard-Wagner-Stätten in Graupa. His recordings have been showered with awards.

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« (La Scala, Bavarian State Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House), »Manon« (Vienna State Opera, Metropolitan Opera) and »La Traviata« (La Scala, Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Opéra national de Paris and Bavarian State Opera) as well as Königin der Nacht in »Die Zauberflöte« (Metropolitan Opera, Salzburg Festival, Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera House).

Since her house debut as Zerbinetta in 2005, Diana Damrau has made seven major role debuts at the Metropolitan Opera and has appeared several times in live HD cinema broadcasts worldwide. Highlights included new productions of »Rigoletto« (Gilda), »Il barbiere di Siviglia« (Rosina), »Le comte Ory« (Adèle) and »Les pêcheurs des perles« (Leïla). Other engagements included the title roles in »La Sonnambula«, »La Fille du Régiment«, and »Roméo et Juliette«.

She was the first singer in Metropolitan Opera history to sing both Pamina and the Queen of the Night in different performances of the same

series of »Die Zauberflöte«.

The soprano can be seen on the opera stage time and again with contemporary repertoire. The title role in Iain Bell’s adaptation of Hogarth’s »A Harlot’s Progress« (Theater an der Wien 2013) and the two roles of Drunken Woman and Gym Instructress in Lorin Maazel’s opera »1984« (Royal Opera House 2005) were composed especially for her.

Diana Damrau is also one of the most important song interpreters of our time. She has a close artistic partnership with pianist Helmut Deutsch and harpist Xavier de Maistre.  

 As a Warner Classics/Erato exclusive artist, Diana Damrau made her debut album with Arie di Bravura, a collection of Mozart and Salieri arias. Further solo albums followed, receiving various awards, including the ECHO and the OPUS Klassik. Diana Damrau’s work is documented on various opera complete recordings and DVDs.

Diana Damrau is Kammersängerin of the Bavarian State Opera (2007), she was awarded the Bavarian Maximilian-Orden for Art and Science (2010) and the German Cross of Merit for Cultural and Social Merit (2021) – the hightest civil honour of the German Republic.

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.