Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden Semperoper

Opera / Ballet

Biography

Music Director (from summer 2007) Fabio Luisi
Conductor Laureate Sir Colin Davis

The Staatskapelle Dresden celebrated its 450th anniversary on the 22nd of September 1998. Founded in 1548 by Prince Moritz von Sachsen the ensemble is one of the oldest orchestras in the world, enjoying a wealth of tradition. In fact the Staatskapelle is unique in having maintained its position as one of the leading ensembles over the past four and a half centuries, throughout various musical epochs.

Outstanding Kapellmeisters and internationally recognised instrumentalists have helped to shape the Staatskapelle Dresden since its foundation as a Court Orchestra. Directors have included Heinrich Schütz, Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner and Ernst von Schuch. Prominent names from the 20th Century include Fritz Reiner, Fritz Busch, Karl Böhm, Joseph Keilberth, Rudolf Kempe, Otmar Suitner, Kurt Sanderling and Herbert Blomstedt.
Guiseppe Sinopoli was Principal Conductor from 1992 until 2001, followed by Bernard Haitink from 2002 until 2004. The Conductor Laureate is Sir Colin Davis. In the summer of 2007 Fabio Luisi will assume the position of Music Director of the Sächsische Staatsoper and the Staatskapelle Dresden.

Richard Strauss had close links to the orchestra for over 60 years. Nine of his operas were premiered in Dresden (including “Salome”, “Elektra” and “Der Rosenkavalier”) while he dedicated the “Alpine Symphony” to the Dresden “Kapelle”. In fact the Staatskapelle retains its international reputation as the “Strauss Orchestra” up to the present day. Many other composers have written works which were either dedicated to the orchestra or first performed in Dresden, including Vivaldi, Wagner, Schumann, Liszt, Hindemith, Weill, and more recently, Matthus, U. Zimmermann, Kantscheli, Ruzicka and Rihm.

The official appointment of Fabio Luisi will also see the introduction of an annual “Capell compositeur” (Composer-in-residence), chosen by the Staatskapelle to ensure the continuation of the Orchestra’s long tradition of premiering works. In the season 2007/2008 this will be the German composer Isabel Mundry.

The leading conductors of all ages have performed with the Staatskapelle Dresden; famous guest conductors of the last 50 years have included Karajan, C. Kleiber, Sawallisch, Prêtre, Harnoncourt, Ozawa, Levine, Mehta, Maazel, Eschenbach, Chung, Salonen, Thielemann, Gatti and Harding.

The Staatskapelle Dresden has been an opera orchestra since the second third of the 17th century. Today the ensemble performs daily in the Semperoper with a diverse repertoire ranging from Baroque to the latest contemporary works. The Staatskapelle began giving public concerts at the end of the 18th century; subscription concerts were introduced in 1858. Numerous recordings from the 1920s confirm the extraordinary position of the ensemble as an opera and concert orchestra. A busy touring schedule regularly brings the Staatskapelle to the world’s leading centres of music.

April 2007

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