Let me begin with the famous words of the Marschallin from »Der Rosenkavalier«: »Time, how strangely does it run. At first, we are heedless; it’s nothing. Then all of a sudden, we feel nothing else ...« It only seems a moment ago that we were in the middle of our first season together; then the time arrived to set our sights to the future, to make plans, to pick artists ...
My arrival in both Dresden and the Semperoper was greatly aided by many things: the city itself, our audiences, my numerous colleagues and our fantastic ensembles. The energy with which we launched our first year together is continuing on into the 2019/20 season with a programme featuring no newer than eleven opera and ballet premieres in the Semperoper and in Semper Zwei, two of which are world premieres as well as five Dresden premieres. The new season will be framed by a series of returning productions, including the already mentioned »Der Rosenkavalier« by Richard Strauss, which had its premiere in Dresden in 1911.
Torsten Rasch, a former chorister with the local Kreuzchor, has composed the music theatre piece »Die andere Frau/The Other Wife«, dealing with the origin of the three monotheistic world religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, especially for the Semperoper. Further highlights in the upcoming programme will be the magnificent comic opera »Il viaggio a Reims/The Journey to Reims« by Gioachino Rossini in the staging by Laura Scozzi as well as György Ligeti’s opera »Le Grand Macabre« in a scenic interpretation by Calixto Bieito, which opens the new season. And with Richard Wagner’s »Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg« and Giuseppe Verdi’s »Don Carlo«, both conducted by Christian Thielemann, we are presenting two co-productions with the Salzburg Easter Festival in which, alongside our excellent soloists, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the State Opera Chorus have the opportunity to display their astonishing qualities.
Once again, the Semperoper Ballett will plough new artistic furrows, in particular through two rather special productions. Company director Aaron S. Watkin has succeeded in persuading David Dawson, one of the most important choreographers of neo-classical ballet, to return with a new work, »Four Last Songs«, that will be premiered as part of a ballet evening of the same name. In addition, the Semperoper Ballett will be the first company outside Wuppertal to stage Pina Bausch’s dance opera »Iphigenie auf Tauris«. Two good reasons to feel rather chuffed!
Furthermore, we are continuing to strengthen the Semperoper’s international network. In addition to the Salzburg Easter Festival, we have established new partnerships with theatres in Madrid, Copenhagen, Tokyo and Bilbao, while Semperoper Ballett has been invited on international tours.
I am also particularly delighted that we are once again welcoming an outstanding visual artist, in this case Gerhard Richter, who has agreed to provide works from his oeuvre to serve as a basis for our premiere motifs. Born in Dresden in 1932, Gerhard Richter is regarded as one of the world’s foremost important living painters. His so-called »overpaintings«, which are printed in the season’s magazine, reveal a (literally) multi-layered approach to artistic appropriation and the transformation of reality, provoking exciting processes of interpretation and inviting the viewer to look a closer look.
An appeal for us to listen, on the other hand, comes from the pen of theologian, civil rights activist and politician Frank Richter. In 2018 he wrote a remarkable book about our current social situation entitled »Open your ears! Because democracy means confrontation«. As well as opening our eyes to reality, it is essential that we listen carefully to one another, in art as in life. Otherwise society and politics – or indeed art – will not be able to function correctly. We hope that our work will help foster this culture of heightened perception. Numerous complementary and fringe programmes of our Education Department as well as by our dramaturgists will open up avenues for discussion.
Visit us at the Semperoper, where you can enjoy an excellent ensemble as well as international stars and exciting interpretations. Let’s get the conversation started!
With my warmest regards,
your Peter Theiler
Artistic Director of Saxon State Opera