The Dresden Opera Choir was founded on 8th October 1817 by the royal decree of Friedrich August III. This act was due mainly to the efforts of Carl Maria von Weber who, as newly appointed Court Music Director in 1817, was required not only to continue the tradition of Italian opera in Dresden, but also to foster a German opera society. To this end Weber called for a »permanent theatre choir« designed to meet the demands of the new repertoire which had to be created for this society.
In following years various outstanding musical personalities invested much care in the artistic development of the Dresden Opera Choir, maintaining the choir’s musical traditions and turning it into a first-class and highly popular vocal ensemble. Over the centuries such directors as Joseph Metzner, Wilhelm Fischer, Karl Maria Pembaur, Ernst Hintze, Gerhart Wüstner, Hans Peter Müller-Sybel, Hans-Dieter Pflüger and Matthias Brauer have striven to achieve a unique and ideal choral sound, greatly influenced by the choir’s many concert performances. A homogeneous and refined sound, a cultivated piano which does not forsake vocal weight and presence are the primary characteristics for which the Dresden Opera Choir is known. Pablo Assante has been Choir Director since 2009.
Today the Dresden State Opera Choir is regarded as one of Europe’s premier opera choirs. Its work in the opera house, in concert, in radio, television and CD productions, as well as regular appearances at festivals and on tour, have brought the ensemble world-wide recognition and many accolades. The Choir has continually grown in stature as it has met the highest of musical and artistic challenges, performing stimulating works with celebrated conductors.
The collaboration with the conductor Giuseppe Sinopoli was fundamental to the development of the Choir, which he regarded as not yet having exhausted its artistic potential. In countless CD productions the Choir has further developed its range. Its unceasing efforts in the years following Sinopoli’s sudden death have served to consolidate this high artistic quality.
As in all the fields of artistry at Saxon State Opera in Dresden, the work of the State Opera Choir displays a close interweaving of tradition, contemporary artistic responsibility and a willingness to meet the challenges of the future.