Guest Concert in Hamburg

Christian Thielemann Conductor
Christa Mayer Alto
Ladies of the State Opera Chorus Dresden
Semperoper Children’s Choir

Gustav Mahler

  • Symphony No. 3 in d minor

Musical cosmology

Like its predecessors, this work has an explicit programme; yet unlike his Second Symphony, Gustav Mahler sketches out a musical cosmology under the title »A Summer’s Midday Dream«: from inanimate matter to plants, animals, people and angels all the way up to divine love. Even the opening – half march, half folk song – sounds like music from before the dawn of civilisation: adamantine, monolithic, solid as a mountain. With the Third’s enormous orchestration, the composer self-confidently shattered the traditional classical mould. »To me, symphony means: building a world with all the technical means at my disposal.«

  • 15.06.2023
    20:00 Uhr
    Hamburg, Elbphilharmonie

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.

Christa Mayer

Christa Mayer studied at the University of Music and Theatre in Munich. She attended the class of Lied interpretation with Helmut Deutsch and the opera course, taking part in performances at the Prinzregententheater Munich, and graduated with 1st class honours.

She was a prize winner in several competitions, such as the ARD International Music Competition 2000. Moreover, she has been awarded the Richard-Strauss-Medal – the Young Talent Prize of the Richard Strauss Society – and the Bavarian State’s Prize for Young Artists.

In 2001/2002 season Christa Mayer joined the ensemble of the Saxon State Opera in Dresden, where she has been performing Erda in »Das Rheingold« and »Siegfried«, Fenena in »Nabucco«Suzuki in »Madama Butterfly« with Fabio Luisi, Quickly in Verdi’s »Falstaff« with Daniele Gatti, Baba in »The Rake’s progress«, Adelaide in »Arabella« with Peter Schneider.

She was engaged at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and at the Bavarian Staatsoper Munich as well as at the Teatro di Maggio musicale Florence and the Teatro La Fenice Venice.

In 2006 she performed (»Rheingold«) in the »Ring«-Cycle at the Semperoper Dresden under the baton of Fabio Luisi, and she debuted as Waltraute in »Götterdämmerung«. In 2007 she took part in the »Ring«-Cycle in Valencia and Florence (M° Zubin Mehta) as Erda Rheingold«).

Christa Mayer is even an internationally acclaimed concert singer: Bach »Weihnachtsoratorium«  – Helmuth Rilling, »Mozart-Requiem« – Barcelona Palau de la Musica, Beethoven »Missa C-Dur« – Lissabon Teatro San Carlo; Beethoven »9th Symphony« – Bamberger Symphoniker,

Bach »h-moll-Messe« – Kreuzkirche, Dresden; Händel- »Messiah« – Konzerthaus Berlin and Mahler-»Kindertotenlieder«, September Musical Montreux. Glanert »Requiem for Bosch« with BBC London, »Gurrelieder« with Thielemann in Dresden.

Following her CD Recital Debut with songs of Hermann Zilcher at Orfeo International, the artist performed at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, the Bad Kissingen Summer Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.

In Summer 2008 Christa Mayer made her debut at the Bayreuth Festival – as Erda and Waltraute, followed by the re-invitation for 2009 and 2010, even as Mary in »Der fliegende Holländer«. Her interpretation of Brigitta in »Die tote Stadt« at the Venice Fenice turned out to be a much acclaimed success.

In Dresden she sang Cornelia in Handel’s »Giulio Cesare«, Gaea in Dresden’s new production »Daphne«, Didon in »Les Troyens« and Erda/Waltraute in »Ring«. As Cornelia she was even invited to Düsseldorf, at the Hamburg State Opera she sang Quickly (»Falstaff«) and Erda.

Her Brangäne in »Tristan«, new production, at the Bayreuth Festival received high international acclaim. The New National Theatre Tokyo invited Christa Mayer as Erda (»Rheingold«/»Siegfried«). In Salzburg Christa Mayer sang Emilia (»Otello«), the mezzo part in »Missa solemnis« and Fricka (»Walküre«) under Christian Thielemann.

The Saxon State Opera of Dresden honoured Christa Mayer for her artistic achievements and awarded her the prestigious title of »Kammersängerin«. The Bavarian State awarded Christa Mayer the »Bayerischer Kulturpreis«.

Ladies of the 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. 

Semperoper Children’s Choir

The Semperoper Children’s Choir is an integral part of the opera company and can be frequently enjoyed in a wide range of pieces, including Puccini’s »La bohème« and »Tosca«, Humperdinck’s »Hansel and Gretel«, Strauss’s »Der Rosenkavalier« and Verdi’s »Otello«. Primary schoolchildren (from their second year) rehearse here regularly in the full choir as well as in smaller ensembles while receiving dedicated instruction in singing and stage performance.

The history of the Children’s Choir goes back to the 1950s. Initially, the ensemble was led by choral directors of the Dresden State Opera such as Ernst Hintze, Gerhard Wüstner and Franz-Peter Müller-Sybel. Werner Kitz and Werner Czerny were followed in 1994 by Andreas Heinze, who directed the choir for twenty years. Since 2014, the Children’s Choir has been led by Dresden choral director Claudia Sebastian-Bertsch.

In addition to

performances at the opera house, the choir is involved in Semper Zwei productions such as »Puss in Boots« by Caesar Cui or »Prinz Bussel« by Johannes Wulff-Woesten. The Children’s Choir of the Semperoper Dresden has also appeared several times in concert, such as in 2018 at the performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, conducted by Christian Thielemann. In addition to their demanding opera and concert programme, the children work together with their director on their own concert repertoire, consisting of folk song and madrigals, contemporary compositions as well as international songs. In the spring of 2019, a selection of this repertoire was recorded for CD release. In 2013, the Semperoper Children’s Choir was awarded the Semperoper Foundation Prize in recognition of its artistic achievements.