Concerts at extraordinary places

Semper:Thursday

We turn some very unusual places in the opera house into performance venues. Whether the royal box in the auditorium, the understage area, a catwalk at a dizzying height above the stage, the scenery workshop or the main foyer – all these places will be filled with music and dance. We invite you to enjoy these souvenirs from the Semperoper every Thursday from 5 pm.

The series is being performed by members of the Staatskapelle, the State Opera Chorus, Semperoper Ballett as well as other Semperoper soloists. We hope you can join us!

Hidden souls

Semper:Thursday from the upper foyer of the Semperoper

Robert Stolz (1880-1975) »Blumenlieder«, Op. 500

Soprano Hrachuhí Bassénz
Piano Piotr Kaczmarczyk

The audience at this season’s final Semper:Thursday event will become acquainted with the hidden souls of flowers in the vibrant musical settings of Robert Stolz’s »Blumenlieder«.

»Telling it through the flowers« – that’s what Robert Stolz, the successful composer of operettas, film scores and popular melodies, said to himself when he completed the first version of his 20 »Blumenlieder« (Flower Songs) in 1928. This cycle of miniature artworks with unexpected depths begins with a »Motto«, which recognises the hidden souls of flowers. Stolz understood the characteristics of the various flowers as a metaphor for human life. Written by his friend Bruno Hardt-Warden (1883 – 1954), the Austrian lyricist and librettist, the texts are at times cheerful and contemplative, at times melancholy or even cheekily ironic. Each song is dedicated to a different plant – from the simple verses of the most faithful of all flowers, the forget-me-not, to the delicate musical splendour of that heavenly star, the edelweiss, to the soulless, all-devouring flower of death, overlaid with the darkest of tones; and then the queen of flowers and still the symbol of romantic love, the red rose, presented in dramatic musical garb. Robert Stolz found a unique style for each.

Even towards the end of his life, the king of Viennese operetta looked back with real fondness on these songs. Now, ensemble member Hrachuhí Bassénz will present six of her favourites, accompanied by Piotr Kaczmarczyk at the piano.

Poems  

1. Motto
Blumen sind nicht seelenlos,
Sind geheime Wesen …
Und in ihrem Blütenschoß
Könntest Du wohl lesen,
Was ihr kleines Herz durchzieht,
Wenn ein Schmetterling entflieht
Ihrem Heiligtume …
Doch das Menschenauge sieht
Nichts als eine Blume …

2. Vergissmeinnicht  
Falter, der du um die schönen,
Blauen Glockenblumen kreist,
Hörst du nicht ein Stimmchen tönen,
Das dein buntes Glänzen preist?!
Falter, hörst du wirklich nicht,
Was das Stimmchen flehend spricht?!
Vergiss mein nicht … vergiss mein nicht!
Vergiss, Vergissmeinnicht …

Doch du trinkst im Kuss
Die blauen schönen Glockenblumen leer.
Lächelnd gleich verwöhnten Frauen
Wiegen sie sich hin und her,
Aber dir du Blümchen schlicht
Leuchtet nie der Liebe Licht,
Vergiss mein nicht! Vergiss mein nicht!
Vergiss, Vergissmeinnicht!

Doch dafür ward dir zum Ruhme
Eine Macht in dich gesenkt:
Bist du nicht die liebste Blume,
Die ein Mensch dem andern schenkt?
Blüht nicht stolz dein Angesicht,
Wenn durch dich die Treue spricht:
Vergiss mein nicht! Vergiss mein nicht!
Vergiss, Vergissmeinnicht!

6. Lilie
Lilie, du silberne Freundin der Nacht,
Dich hat das Mondlicht im Traume erdacht.
Hat dich aus heiligen Strahlen gesponnen
Jenseits der trunkenen purpurnen Wonnen
Die zwischen Rosen und Schmetterling sind.
Dir sinkt kein Falter im Taumel zu Füssen,
Dich wagt kaum schüchtern verstohlen zu grüßen
Der sonst so zärtliche Abendwind!

8. Edelweiß
Ein Sternchen fiel vom Himmel
Da lag es ganz allein
Inmitten wilder Berge
Mit silberhellem Schein,
Doch Gott kam ihm zur Hilfe
»Mein Sternchen«, rief er leis’
»Ich schaffe dich zu Blume
Und tauf’ dich Edelweiß!«

14. Sonnenblume
Große gold’ne Sonnenblume,
O, wie ist dein Flammen schön!
Keiner andern Gottesblume
Ist erlaubt, dass ihr Haupt
Wohnt in solchen lichten Höh’n!

Und es betet manches Blümchen,
Das in deiner Nähe sprießt,
Oft zu dir mit scheuem Stimmchen,
Weil es glaubt, dass dein Haupt
Gar die Sonne selber ist!

15. Feuernelken
Feuernelken, ihr flammenden Sternchen,
Ihr müsst gleich brennenden Straßenlaternchen
Leuchten bei Nacht!
Bei Nacht! Bei Nacht!

Denn torkelt Herr Nulpe,
Der Nachtfalter heim,
Betrunken von Küssen und Honigseim,
Dann müsst ihr dem schwanken Gesellen
Die nächtlichen Pfade erhellen …

Und kann er nicht weiter, so ruft ihr herbei
Die grasgrüne Heuschreckenpolizei,
Die sperrt dann das Onkelchen Nulpe
In eine geräumige Tulpe …

Dort schläft es sein Räuschchen, sein seliges, aus
Und träumt von der braven Frau Nulpe zu Haus;
Doch morgens nach köstlichem Schlafe,
Bezahlt er zwei Tautröpfchen Strafe!

Feuernelken, ihr flammenden Sternchen
Ihr müsst gleich brennenden Straßenlaternchen
Leuchten bei Nacht!
Bei Nacht! Bei Nacht!

17. Todesblume
Einzige der holden Blumen,
Die du ohne Seele bist!
O, wie leuchtet deine Schönheit,
Die dem Tod verschwistert ist.

In des Kelches Tiefe lockst du
Manchen Falter Gold gewebt,
Grausam schließt du deine Blüte
Und der Ärmste hat gelebt!

O, wie gleichst du vielen Frauen,
Stolz und schön im Menschenreich.
Hinter großen Veilchenaugen
Lauert Sünde, raubtiergleich!

Ihre Liebe träumt von Tischchen
Rotgedeckt und lichtverziert,
Wo der Tod im dunklen Fracke
Männerherzen stumm serviert!

Einzige der holden Blumen,
Die du nicht wie Blumen bist,
O, wie gleichst du Frauenschönheit,
Wenn sie ohne Seele ist.

19. Rote Rose
Rote Rose, rote Rose,
Königin der Blumen du, 
Jedes Menschenantlitz lächelt dir
Sein schönstes Lächeln zu!

O, wie oft hat dich ein Mädchen
Heimlich in der Nacht geküsst,
Weil du, rote, rote Rose,
Das Symbol der Liebe bist!

Rote Rose, rote Rose,
Königin der Blumen du!

Gedichte von Bruno Hardt-Warden © BMG Rights Management GmbH


Addio, senza rancor

Semper:Donnerstag with the Junges Ensemble of the Semperoper

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791) »Alla bella Despinetta« from »Così fan tutte« – Julia Muzychenko, Anna Kudriashova-Stepanets, Mariya Taniguchi, Mateusz Hoedt, Beomjin Kim, Doğukan Kuran

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
»Quando me’n vò« from »La bohème« – Julia Muzychenko
»Vecchia zimarra, senti« from »La bohème« – Mateusz Hoedt
»Donde lieta uscì« from »La bohème« – Mariya Taniguchi

Conductor Thomas Leo Cadenbach
Piano David Preil

On this Semper:Thursday we spotlight the place where opera productions begin: namely the rehearsal stage.

Under the motto »Addio, senza rancor« (»farewell, and without bitterness«), current and former members of the Young Ensemble programme of the Semperoper Dresden will present arias and ensembles from the world of Italian opera under the baton of Thomas Leo Cadenbach. With the sextet »Alla bella Despinetta« from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s »Così fan tutte« and the arias »Quando me’n vò«, »Vecchia zimarra, senti« and »Donde lieta uscì« from Giacomo Puccini’s opera »La bohème«, the young singers bid farewell to a challenging year while at the same time giving a foretaste of the Semper Soiree to be held on the main stage of the Semperoper on 10 July 2021.

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The Shepherd on the Rock

Semper:Thursday from the proscenium boxes in the auditorium of the Semperoper

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) »The Shepherd on the Rock« for soprano, clarinet and piano, D 965

Tenor Joseph Dennis
Clarinet Wolfram Große
Piano Johannes Wulff-Woesten

Franz Schubert’s song »The Shepherd on the Rock« is in fact a small opera scene. The shepherd, high in the mountains guarding his flock, listens to the echo of his voice. He senses how the reverberation fills the natural world around him, at the same time reminding him how lonely he is. But the feeling of solitude gives way to the certainty that the fast-approaching spring will herald his return to the world.

The singer Anna Milder-Hauptmann had asked Franz Schubert to compose an aria for her in the style of Italian opera. The composer, who only obliged belatedly in the year of his death after some urging, created the text for this work himself by combining a number of verses by Wilhelm Müller and Karl August Varnhagen von Ense. »The Shepherd on the Rock« is unusual not only in its operatic structure but also in the use of the clarinet to supplement the vocal line, creating the instrumental equivalent of the »echo from the chasm« that the shepherd hears from his rock. 

»The Shepherd on the Rock« is generally sung by sopranos even though the text is written from the male perspective. Tenor Joseph Dennis from the Semperoper ensemble will perform Schubert’s song together with Wolfram Große, principal clarinet of the Staatskapelle Dresden, and pianist Johannes Wulff-Woesten.

Lyrics  

Wenn auf dem höchsten Fels ich steh’,
In’s tiefe Tal hernieder seh’,
Und singe.

Fern aus dem tiefen dunkeln Tal
Schwingt sich empor der Widerhall
Der Klüfte.

Je weiter meine Stimme dringt,
Je heller sie mir wieder klingt
Von unten.

Mein Liebchen wohnt so weit von mir,
Drum sehn’ ich mich so heiß nach ihr
Hinüber.

In tiefem Gram verzehr’ ich mich,
Mir ist die Freude hin,
Auf Erden mir die Hoffnung wich,
Ich hier so einsam bin.

So sehnend klang im Wald das Lied,
So sehnend klang es durch die Nacht,
Die Herzen es zum Himmel zieht
Mit wunderbarer Macht.

Der Frühling will kommen,
Der Frühling, meine Freud’,
Nun mach’ ich mich fertig
Zum Wandern bereit.


Fascinating connections

Semper:Thursday with the Giuseppe-Sinopoli-Akademie

»Blackbird« for tuba solo (arranged by Lars Holmgaard after Paul McCartney / John Lennon)
Tuba Constantin Hartwig

Bourree (Johann Sebastian Bach, from the Lute Suite, BWV 966)
Clarinet Moritz Pettke
Cello Sofia von Freydorf

Fantasia. Adagio (Carl Maria von Weber, from the Clarinet Quintet)                                        
Violins Robert Kusnyer, Michail Kanatidis
Clarinet Moritz Pettke
Viola Christina Hanspach
Cello Sofia von Freydorf

What happens when someone like Paul McCartney meets Johann Sebastian Bach? And what can we expect when an orchestra like the Dresden Staatskapelle, which will soon be 475 years old, gets together with young musicians and listeners? Well, some thrilling connections are sure to arise.

The Staatskapelle Academy has set itself the task of inspiring brilliant young performers for a future career as orchestral musicians by giving them the chance to play at rehearsals, concerts and chamber music recitals as well as offering bespoke instruction. In this way, new connections are forged between a centuries-old tradition and the dynamic artists of the future. 

And thus it can happen that a romantic Fantasia by Carl Maria von Weber so touches the hearts of young people that it seems as if the composition were only written yesterday. Or Paul McCartney tells us of how, back in 1968, he was so fascinated by the interweaving of melody and bass line in Johann Sebastian Bach’s »Bourree« from the Lute Suite, BWV 996, that it inspired him to write the song »Blackbird«.

Performing artists Sofia von Freydorf (cello), Moritz Pettke (clarinet) and Constantin Hartwig (tuba) together with the former academy members Christina Hanspach (viola) and Michail Kanatidis (violin) as well as Robert Kusnyer (violin, member of the academy board) 


»Onkel Fritz und die Maikäfer« (»Uncle Fritz and the Cockchafer«)

Semper:Thursday from the Palettenmagazin of the Saxon State Theatres

Carl Adolf Lorenz (1837–1923) Fünfter Streich, Op. 11, No. 1, from »Max und Moritz« 

Semperoper Children’s Choir
Conductor Claudia Sebastian-Bertsch

Under its director Claudia Sebastian-Bertsch, the Semperoper Children’s Choir can usually be enjoyed singing and acting on the opera stage in a variety of different productions, including »Hänsel und Gretel«, »Carmen« and »La bohème«. On this Semper:Thursday, the children and teenagers will discover an important hub of our stage engineering, the Palettenmagazin, where the diverse props and set decorations of the opera and ballet pieces for the next one to two months rotate for their quick use on stage. Incidentally, a total of about 80 stage sets are stored in our warehouses spreaded throughout the city. Carl Adolf Lorenzʼs Fünfter Streich, Op. 11, No. 1, »Uncle Fritz and the Cockchafer«, is also brimming with operatic references. In his vocal collection »Max und Moritz« from 1883, Lorenz set three of the well-known pranks penned by Wilhelm Busch to music, quoting familiar opera melodies to provide a witty musical commentary on the verses.


»Solo White Swan« and »Interlude« (premiere)

Semper:Thursday with the Semperoper Ballett

Sangeun Lee »Solo White Swan« from Aaron S. Watkin’s »Swan Lake «, music by Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky
Houston Thomas »Interlude« from Nicholas Palmquist’s »A Collection of Short Stories«, music by Alexandra Stréliski

On this Semper:Thursday our focus will be on that place in the theatre that always draws the audience’s attention, and yet which for artists never stays the same but constantly changes its appearance: the stage.

More than any other narrative ballet, »Swan Lake« is firmly anchored in the repertoire of every ballet company in the world. For Semperoper Ballett, artistic director Aaron S. Watkin created in 2009 his own version of this ageless and world-famous classic full of elegance and poetry. Company principal Sangeun Lee will perform one of the most beautiful and technically demanding excerpts from this work, namely the White Swan’s solo from Act One.

In contrast, you can enjoy a new piece of contemporary dance, namely »A Collection of Short Stories« by the choreographer Nicholas Palmquist, who has created a series of brief yet intense narrative episodes to the music of the Canadian composer and pianist Alexandra Stréliski. Now we are presenting for the very first time an excerpt from this work, entitled »Interlude«, here danced by Houston Thomas.


»Wem sprudelt der Becher des Lebens so reich?«

Romantic choruses by Carl Maria von Weber and Gaetano Donizetti

»Huntsmen’s Chorus (Jägerchor)«
from Carl Maria von Weber’s romantic opera »Der Freischütz« 

Men of the Staatsopernchor Dresden (State Opera Chorus)
Conductor André Kellinghaus
Horns Erich Markwart, Miklós Takács, David Harloff, Marie-Luise Kahle (Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden)

»Bel conforto al mietitore« 
Opening chorus from Gaetano Donizetti’s »L’elisir d’amore / The Elixir of Love«

Women and men of the Staatsopernchor Dresden (State Opera Chorus)
Conductor André Kellinghaus
Piano Jonathan Becker

At first glance, the two pieces performed by the Staatsopernchor (State Opera Chorus) seem very different: The famous Huntsmen’s Chorus from Carl Maria von Weber’s romantic opera »Der Freischütz«, which will always be closely associated with Dresden and the Semperoper (and celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2021), and the opening chorus »Bel conforto al mietitore / What a comfort to the farmer under the hot sun« from Gaetano Donizetti’s »L’elisir d’amore / The Elixir of Love«.

Solely the dates of the premieres, namely the years 1821 and 1832 respectively, indicate that both works were influenced by the same European wave of Romantic sentiment. While Weber’s composition laid the groundwork for a German-language version of gothic-romantic opera, Donizetti offered his own rather cheerful and ironic take on the Romantic spirit with his melodramma giocoso. What these two masterpieces have in common is a desire to shift the action to a rural setting in order to explore the folksongs and customs, the traditions and desires of so-called simple people within musical drama and to present them on the operatic stage.

Jägerchor  

Auszug aus dem Libretto von Friedrich Kind zu »Der Freischütz« von Carl Maria von Weber:

Was gleicht wohl auf Erden dem Jägervergnügen,
Wem sprudelt der Becher des Lebens so reich?
Beim Klange der Hörner im Grünen zu liegen,
Den Hirsch zu verfolgen durch Dickicht und Teich
Ist fürstliche Freude, ist männlich Verlangen,
Erstarket die Glieder und würzet das Mahl.
Wenn Wälder und Felsen uns hallend umfangen,
Tönt freier und freud'ger der volle Pokal!
Jo ho! Tralalalala!

Diana ist kundig, die Nacht zu erhellen,
Wie labend am Tage ihr Dunkel uns kühlt.
Den blutigen Wolf und den Eber zu fällen,
Der gierig die grünenden Saaten durchwühlt,
Ist fürstliche Freude, ist männlich Verlangen,
Erstarket die Glieder und würzet das Mahl.
Wenn Wälder und Felsen uns hallend umfangen,
Tönt freier und freud'ger der volle Pokal!
Jo ho! Tralalalala!

Eröffnungschor  

Auszug aus dem Libretto von Felice Romani zu »L’elisir d’amore / Der Liebestrank« von Gaetano Donizetti:

Bel conforto al mietitore,
Quando il sol più ferve e bolle,
Sotto un faggio, appie' di un colle,
Riposarsi e respirar!
Del meriggio il vivo ardore
Tempran l'ombre e il rio corrente;
Ma d'amor la vampa ardente
Ombra o rio non può temprar.
Fortunato il mietitore,
Che da lui si può guardar!

Vor des Tages Hitz' und Schwüle
Schirmen uns der Buche Zweige;
Kurze Rast in frischer Kühle
Wird uns neue Kraft verleihn.
Wenn die Sonne Flammen sprühet,
Muss der kühle Quell uns laben,
Doch wenn Lieb' im Herzen glühet,
Flößt kein Trunk uns Labung ein.
Nur wer sich der Lieb' entziehet,
Kann beglückt und heiter sein.
Nur wer sich der Lieb' entziehet,
Kann beglückt und heiter sein!


»Herzgewächse« (Foliage of the Heart)

Semper:Thursday from the Malsaal (decoration workshop)

Arnold Schönberg »Herzgewächse« (Foliage of the Heart) for Coloratura Soprano, Celesta, Harmonium and Harp Op. 20 (1911)

Soloist Katerina von Bennigsen
Celesta Alexander Bülow
Harmonium Jobst Schneiderat
Harp Johanna Schellenberger

Claude Debussy »Trois chansons de Bilitis« (Three Songs of Bilitis) (1897/98)
1. La Flûte de Pan (Pan’s Flute)
2. La Chevelure (The Hair)
3. Le Tombeau des Naïades (The Tomb of the Naiads)

Soloist Christa Mayer
Harp Johanna Schellenberger

At this Semper:Thursday event, you can look forward to the tonally rich »Herzgewächse« from the pen of Arnold Schoenberg as well as the musical illustrations of Arcadian love poetry in Claude Debussy’s »Trois chansons de Bilitis«.

In 1911, Arnold Schoenberg set to music the poem »Herzgewächse«, which is the German translation of a work by the Belgian author Maurice Maeterlinck from his poetry cycle »Serres chaudes« (Hothouses) of 1889. The vague sensations and dark forebodings in the words of the symbolist poet inspired the composer, who at that time was strongly influenced by the imagery and vivid colouring of expressionist painting, to create a rich orchestral sound by means of a chamber ensemble made up of harp, harmonium and celesta. Even the demanding vocal part encompasses a huge tonal palette ranging over several octaves.

Claude Debussy, who at the close of the 19th century was already working on his opera »Pelléas et Mélisande«, was similarly captivated by Maeterlinck’s symbolist poetry. This influence can be easily discerned in his »Trois chansons de Bilitis« (written directly after the opera), a setting of three poems evoking an Arcadian paradise by his friend Pierre Louÿs. These poems were presented as the work of a 6th-century Greek shepherdess named Bilitis, whom Louÿs claimed to have discovered. In fact, he had written these masterpieces of erotic verse himself, artfully imitating the classical Greek style. In this fleeting, shimmering setting, Debussy captures the elation of a past night of passion, in which simultaneously tender and yet stark descriptions of the act of love are enmeshed with intertwining strands of hair before the cycle closes with a melancholy swan song to a lost paradise. 


»Senza Basso«

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Sonata for Solo Flute

Flute Rozália Szabó

The Staatskapelle’s principal flautist, Rozália Szabó, ventures into dizzying heights at this Semper:Thursday event when she performs Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s only sonata for solo flute »senza Basso« – i.e. without accompaniment – in one of the highest places of the Semperoper: from a catwalk in the fly tower. 

In C. P. E. Bach’s dazzling »Sonata per il Flauto traverso solo senza Basso«, the composer gives the favourite instrument of his employer, Frederick the Great, the opportunity to shine without any harmonic support. Composed in 1747, it was probably written for the leading flautist of the age, Johann Joachim Quantz, who had accepted a position as chamber musician to the Prussian king a few years earlier. Quantz had arrived there from another musical epicentre, namely Dresden, where the virtuoso had acquired his outstanding reputation as flautist to the Saxon Elector’s Royal Polish Chapel – today’s Staatskapelle.


»Zu singen« (»To Sing«)

Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) Three Vocalises for Soprano and Clarinet (1958)
Wolfgang Rihm (*1952) »Zu singen« from »Mnemosyne« (first version) by Friedrich Hölderlin for Soprano and Clarinet (2006)

Soprano Nikola Hillebrand
Clarinet Robert Oberaigner

»But the flowers and also the water must sing, and feel whether there is still a God«, murmurs Friedrich Hölderlin in his hymn »Mnemosyne«, which Wolfgang Rihm set to music in 2006 under the title »Zu singen« (»To Sing«) for soprano and clarinet. Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory, and like a distant memory of what was once music, two voices reverberate here through the vastness of space. At this Semper:Thursday, soprano Nikola Hillebrand and clarinetist Robert Oberaigner will conduct a dialogue in which the human voice and the wind instrument at times merge through their similar tonal quality, then move apart to inhabit their own sonic spaces, before finally striving to find a common means of expression. Rihm’s mysterious Hölderlin setting is preceded by three wordless songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams. One of the composer’s last works, the Three Vocalises see soprano and clarinet join forces to create a wonderful siren song. And where can such a song unfold more beautifully than on the topmost seats of the Semperoper – on the fourth tier of the auditorium ...

Friedrich Hölderlin: »Mnemosyne« (first version)  

aber es haben
Zu singen

Blumen auch Wasser und fühlen,
Ob noch ist der Gott. Denn schön ist
Der Brauttag, bange sind wir aber
Der Ehre wegen. Denn furchtbar gehet
Es ungestalt, wenn Eines uns
Zu gierig genommen. Zweifellos
Ist aber der Höchste. Der kann täglich
Es ändern. Kaum bedarf er
Gesetz, wie nämlich es
Bei Menschen bleiben soll. Viel Männer möchten da
Sein, wahrer Sache. Nicht vermögen
Die Himmlischen alles. Nämlich es reichen
Die Sterblichen eh an den Abgrund. Also wendet es sich
Mit diesen. Lang ist
Die Zeit, es ereignet sich aber
Das Wahre.


Peter Eötvös: »Thunder« for solo timpani (1993)

Semper:Thursday from the trap room of the Semperoper

Timpani Manuel Westermann

On this Semper:Thursday, Manuel Westermann, principal timpanist of the Dresden Staatskapelle, explores a part of the Semperoper that even orchestra musicians don’t often get to see: deep under the stage, the so-called trap room offers a novel perspective on the opera house, here helping to spotlight an instrument generally found in the background at concerts.

Violin, flute, cello – these and many other instruments enjoy a rich repertoire of solo works that explore the gamut of technical possibilities. Other instruments are almost exclusively experienced in orchestral settings. Here the prime example is doubtless the timpani. Yet the pedal timpani, which enables the performer to make dynamic changes in pitch, has much more to offer musically than many a classical orchestral work would suggest. The virtuosic capabilities of this instrument are ably demonstrated by the Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös (composer-in-residence to the Dresden Staatskapelle in the 2018/19 season) in his work »Thunder« for solo timpani from 1993.


»Bar Classics«

From Cole Porter to Paul Simon

Andrew Lloyd Webber / Tim Rice »On This Night of a Thousand Stars« 
Cole Porter »I’ve Got You Under My Skin« 
Hans Sotin »Strandperle« (Word premiere)
Paul Simon »Bridge over Troubled Water«

With Aaron Pegram (Tenor) and Alexandros Stavrakakis (Bass)
Piano Hans Sotin

At Semper:Thursday you can experience our singers in some rather unusual places in the Semperoper, for example in the curved first-floor foyer, where our audience members normally enjoy a promenade. This, however, is also the ideal location for the »bar classics« presented by tenor Aaron Pegram and bass Alexandros Stavrakakis together with pianist Hans Sotin. Enjoy some swinging sounds between the ornate pillars of the opera house ...

Nominated for an Oscar in 1937 as Best Song, Cole Porter’s »I’ve Got You Under My Skin« from the film »Born to Dance« later became immortalised in Frank Sinatra’s version from 1956. »On This Night of a Thousand Stars« comes from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical »Evita«. And Paul Simon’s »Bridge over Troubled Water« became a worldwide success as interpreted by his stage partner Art Garfunkel – and has been a great hymn of hope and consolation ever since. The programme will also feature a true world premiere: especially for Semper:Thursday, Hans Sotin, pianist and répétiteur of the Semperoper, has written a tongue-in-cheek yet wistful piece for piano, entitled »Strandperlen«, which he will perform for the first time.


»Holà! Ihr Streiter in Apoll«

La Roche’s monologue from »Capriccio« by Richard Strauss

La Roche KS Georg Zeppenfeld
Piano Johannes Wulff-Woesten

When Richard Strauss was working on his final opera, »Capriccio«, his vision was to create a light and rococo summary of his work for the stage and to explore his thinking on the meaning of opera. The result was a piece that, while finally overcoming classical traditions with its parlando-like conversational tone, plays with numerous references to the world of theatre, opera and the idiosyncrasies of its various creators.

One of the protagonists is the successful theatre director La Roche. Invited to stage a theatrical spectacle for the birthday of the Countess Madeleine, he clashes with the members of the younger creative generation, here represented by the composer Flamand and the poet Olivier. In his speech »Holà! Ihr Streiter in Apoll«, La Roche develops his vision of a truthful dramatic form that is full of life and power – and at the same time tells us the inscription that will one day stand on his gravestone. And what did Richard Strauss want from his librettist? »Theatre of the mind, brain food, dry wit!«

Open air rehearsal of the Staatsopernchor

»Zigeunerlieder« (»Gypsy Songs«) op. 103 by Johannes Brahms

Due to hygiene regulations, the Sächsischer Staatsopernchor (Saxon State Opera Choir) is currently only able to rehearse indoors in small groups. That is why it presents itself to the audience with an open air rehearsal of the »Zigeunerlieder« (»Gypsy Songs«) by Johannes Brahms at a special location: Watch the Staatsopernchor rehearsing in the loading area at the back of the opera house. Choirmaster Jan Hoffmann conducts the rehearsal where normally large trucks deliver the parts of the sceneries.

Programme  

Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden
Jan Hoffmann Conductor
Christoph Heinig Piano

Johannes Brahms (1833–1897)
Zigeunerlieder (Gypsy Songs) op. 103
Text: Hungarian folk songs in German adaption by Hugo Conrat

No. 1 »He, Zigeuner, greife in die Saiten ein …«
No. 2 »Hochgetürmte Rimaflut, wie bist du so trüb …«
No. 4 »Lieber Gott, du weißt, wie oft bereut ich hab, …«
No. 5 »Brauner Bursche führt zum Tanze sein blauäugig schönes Kind …«
No. 7 »Kommt dir manchmal in den Sinn, mein süßes Lieb …«
No. 11 »Rote Abendwolken ziehn am Firmament, …«

Recording on 16 June 2020

COW – Scenes from the ballet by Alexander Ekman

»Semper:Thursday« on 2 July 2020

COW is an award-winning ballet curiosity by Alexander Ekman from 2016, which tells poetic, surreal and everyday stories in twelve individual scenes with wit and irony–always watched by a cow that remains in the moment and stays apparently uninvolved. The Semperoper Ballett presents three scenes from the masterpiece–with cow, of course!

Programme  

Regeln (rules) – Christian Bauch
Fnerf – Courtney Richardson
Deux – Svetlana Gileva, Denis Veginy
Film

Semperoper Ballett

Recording on 18 June 2020 in the Semperoper

»Prima la musica!« –
Richard Strauss: String Sextet from »Capriccio«

»Semper:Thursday« on 25 June 2020

Words or music – what is more important in opera? »Capriccio«, Richard Strauss’s last work for the stage, poses this perennial question in a very concrete way: Both the poet Olivier and the composer Flamand vie for the heart of the Countess Madelaine, each with the means provided by his art. The famous string sextet from the beginning of the opera quickly turns out to be a work by the young Flamand, composed in a bid to win the Countess’s affection – a musical attempt at seduction in the flowing style of Strauss’s late works. 

Programme  

Musicians of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden:
Thomas Meining Violin
Barbara Meining Violin
Andreas Schreiber Viola
Stephan Pätzold Viola
Martin Jungnickel Violoncello
Friedwart Christian Dittmann Violoncello

Richard Strauss: String Sextet »Capriccio« op. 85

Recording on 11 May 2020 in the Semperoper

Staatskapelle Dresden

Last songs, last jokes. Lieder by Gioachino Rossini

»Semper:Thursday« on 11 June 2020

Gioachino Rossini had officially retired at the age of 37 after his last opera »Guillaume Tell«. But he continued to delight his friends and guests with countless small and witty compositions. Thomas Leo Cadenbach and the Junges Ensemble of the Semperoper have looked around the great collection of songs, arias and ensembles that Rossini has accumulated in his »Soirées musicales« and present some of their finds.

We would like to thank the Radeberger Exportbierbrauerei for its partnership and the associated support of the Junges Ensemble.

Programme  

Mariya Taniguchi Soprano
Julia Muzychenko Soprano
Anna Kudriashova-Stepanets Mezzo Soprano
Beomjin Kim Tenore
Dogukan Kuran Baritone
Mateusz Hoedt Bass

Sebastian Ludwig Piano
Thomas Leo Cadenbach Piano / Musical Director

»La lontananza« (Giuseppe Torre) Beomjin Kim, Sebastian Ludwig
»Elégie« (Émilien Pacini) Mariya Taniguchi, Thomas Leo Cadenbach
»Le gittane« (Giuseppe Torre) Julia Muzychenko, Anna Kudriashova-Stepanets, Sebastian Ludwig
»L’ultimo ricordo« (Giovanni Redaelli) Dogukan Kuran, Thomas Leo Cadenbach
»Ave Maria« (Liturgisch) Mateusz Hoedt, Sebastian Ludwig
»I gondolieri« (Anonym) Ensemble

Recording on 3 June 2020 in the Semperoper

Junges Ensemble

»Nachtigall, sie singt so schön« –
Liebeslieder Walzer by Johannes Brahms

»Semper:Thursday« on 4 June 2020

Our second »Semper:Thursday« is about love: In Johannes Brahmsʼ short miniatures of the »Liebeslieder Walzer«, love is described sometimes seriously, sometimes humorously, sometimes ironically and sometimes angrily. With the members of our soloist ensemble Katerina von Bennigsen, Stepanka Pucalkova, Gerald Hupach and Matthias Henneberg, accompanied by Piotr Kaczmarczyk and Clemens Posselt on the piano.

Programme  

Katerina von Bennigsen Soprano
Stepanka Pucalkova Mezzo soprano
Gerald Hupach Tenor
Matthias Henneberg Bass

Piotr Kaczmarczyk Piano
Clemens Posselt Piano

Johannes Brahmsʼ Liebeslieder Walzer op. 52 after texts from Georg Friedrich Daumer’s »Polydora«

»Rede, Mädchen, allzu liebes«
»Am Gesteine rauscht die Flut«
»O, die Frauen«
»Wie des Abends schöne Röte«
»Die grüne Hopfenranke«
»Ein kleiner, hübscher Vogel«
»Wenn so lind dein Auge mir«
»Am Donaustrande«
»O wie sanft die Quelle sich«
»Nein, es ist nicht auszukommen«
»Schlosser auf, und mache Schlösser«
»Nachtigall, sie singt so schön«
»Ein dunkeler Schacht ist Liebe«
»Es bebet das Gesträuche«

Recording on 28 May 2020 in the Semperoper

»Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten?« –
Lieder by Richard Strauss

»Semper:Thursday« on 28 May 2020

Richard Strauss and the Semperoper simply belong together. No composer has been associated so closely with the opera house for decades, and so our »Semper:Thursday« of course opens with a Strauss program. Christa Mayer, Tuuli Takala, and Sebastian Wartig sing some of the composer’s most beautiful songs, accompanied by Johannes Wulff-Woesten on the piano.

Programme  

Tuuli Takala Soprano
KS Christa Mayer Mezzo soprano
Sebastian Wartig Baritone

Johannes Wulff-Woesten Piano

»Geduld« op. 10 Nr. 5 (Hermann von Gilm) Christa Mayer
»Ich wollt’ ein Sträußlein binden« op. 68 Nr. 2 (Clemens von Brentano) Tuuli Takala
»Ständchen« op. 17 Nr. 2 (Adolf Friedrich von Schack) Sebastian Wartig
»Ruhe, meine Seele« op. 27 Nr. 1 (Karl Friedrich Henckell) Christa Mayer
»Amor« op. 68 Nr. 5 (Clemens von Brentano) Tuuli Takala
»Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten« op. 19 Nr. 4 (Adolf Friedrich von Schack) Sebastian Wartig
»Zueignung« op. 10 Nr. 1 (Hermann von Gilm) Christa Mayer

Recording on 22 May 2020 in the Semperoper