Looking ahead! – the Semperoper will begin the 2023/24 season with healthy balance sheet, outstanding productions and a host of star performers
In his last season as Intendant of Saxon State Opera, Peter Theiler is continuing his artistic vision for the Semperoper with no fewer than 10 premieres, including three world premieres and one German premiere, in opera and ballet as well as the Junge Szene programme. The upcoming 2023/24 season will offer international audiences not only new productions featuring brilliant artists but also the return of long-awaited and popular repertoire pieces, the second outing of the »Richard Strauss Days at the Semperoper« and a diverse range of special events.
In particular, the 2023/24 programme features:
- 10 new productions and over 30 revivals in opera, ballet and the Junge Szene programme;
- Three world premieres and one German premiere;
- The next outing of the »Richard Strauss Days at the Semperoper« in the spring of 2024: with Christian Thielemann, Marc Albrecht and Antonio Pappano conducting the Staatskapelle Dresden, a matinee song recital with Christiane Karg and Gerold Huber as well as a silent film screening with live orchestra conducted by Frank Strobel;
- With Marcelo Gomes and Adi Luick as the interim management team for the 2023/24 season, the Semperoper Ballett presents a new version of »Swan Lake« by Johan Inger as well as »Plot Point«, a new three-part ballet evening;
- Semper Zwei and Junge Szene will present two opera premieres, a ballet premiere as well as a new production in the framework of the »Oper Mobil« programme;
- In cooperation with the Semperoper, the Semperoper Foundation will continue its commitment to children and young people with a special performance of »Hänsel und Gretel«;
- The premiere posters for 2023/24 will feature motifs by the artist Marton Perlaki.
Dresden, 21 March 2023. Pursuing the aim that »music theatre should not just serve the purpose of intellectual recreation but must also contribute to debates around our social values«, the Semperoper’s programme once again invites audiences to enjoy a mixture of exciting new productions and successful repertoire pieces. Spread over 277 performances, the 2023/24 season offers ten new productions and more than thirty revivals in a veritable cornucopia of new and traditional works.
The premieres of the 2023/24 season will, in part, tell the history of female emancipation reflected through famous operatic heroines. Thus, the series of opera premieres in the upcoming season will start in October 2023 with the eagerly awaited new production of Giacomo Puccini’s »Turandot«, staged by French director Marie-Eve Signeyrole, with Elisabeth Teige in the title role and Ivan Repušić on the conductor’s rostrum. This will be followed in the same month by the Dresden premiere of Thomas Adès’s »Powder Her Face« at the Semper Zwei venue, staged by Georg Schmiedleitner, whose production of Maderna’s »Satyricon« thrilled audiences in Salzburg and Dresden in 2018. In February 2024, audiences can enjoy the premiere of the opera »Die Jüdin von Toledo« (The Jewess of Toledo), which the Semperoper commissioned from composer Detlev Glanert, here staged by Robert Carsen and conducted by Jonathan Darlington. Then the curtain will rise on Richard Strauss’s mysterious »Die Frau ohne Schatten« at the end of March 2024, with a cast headed by Camilla Nylund and Evelyn Herlitzius. Director David Bösch returns to Dresden with set designer Patrick Bannwart for this new Dresden production, for which principal conductor Christian Thielemann will take to the Staatskapelle rostrum. Calixto Bieito has also accepted an invitation from Peter Theiler to return to the Semperoper, where the Spanish star director’s new production of Leoš Janáček’s opera »Káťa Kabanová« will enjoy its Dresden premiere in April 2024 under the baton of Alejo Pérez and with a cast featuring, amongst others, Christa Mayer. The sets and costumes of this co-production between the Semperoper and the National Theatre in Prague will be provided by the National Theatre. Barbora Horáková Joly is undertaking her third production for the Semperoper with Hector Berlioz’s masterpiece »Benvenuto Cellini«, which will be performed in Dresden for the first time in June 2024 with soloists Tuuli Takala, Ante Jerkunica and Anton Rositskiy under conductor Giampaolo Bisanti. This dramatic work, which is itself an examination of art and artists, is one of the most exciting works of French Romanticism. It will conclude the series of premieres under the directorship of Peter Theiler. Before that, however, audiences can look forward to the musical »Woyzeck« with music and lyrics by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan, which will celebrate its premiere on the stage of Semper Zwei. This piece is based on the book by Robert Wilson after Georg Büchner’s fragment »Das Leben des Geringsten«.
The company of the Semperoper Ballett – in the 2023/24 season under the interim directorship of Marcelo Gomes and Adi Luick – will present two premieres at the end of the year. The first of these will be a new take on »Swan Lake« by Johan Inger in December 2023, conducted by Thomas Herzog. Following his celebrated new interpretation of »Peer Gynt« in the current Dresden season, this third narrative ballet by the Swedish star choreographer promises to be an equally fresh reading of a classic ballet. This will be quickly followed by the ballet »Der 35. Mai oder Konrad reitet in die Südsee« (The 35th of May, or Conrad’s Ride to the South Seas), based on the children’s book by Erich Kästner. Commissioned by the Semperoper’s Junge Szene programme, the work will be performed in cooperation with Dresden’s Palucca University of Dance. To mark the 125th birthday of the Dresden-born author and poet Kästner, choreographer Raphaël Coumes-Marquet and composer Gordon Kampe have created a sonically and visually thrilling work for the Semper Zwei venue. Under the title »Plot Point«, the Semperoper’s second major ballet evening will bring together three exciting exponents of the progressive neo-classical dance aesthetic of the 20th and 21st centuries, namely George Balanchine, Crystal Pite and Twyla Tharp. Alongside Balanchine’s »Serenade« and the German premiere of Pite’s »Plot Point«, the work of US artist Twyla Tharp can be admired for the first time at the Semperoper with her »In The Upper Room«.
Returning productions of the 2023/24 season will include two great Verdi operas: »Otello« with Gregory Kunde in the title role and Hrachuhí Bassénz as Desdemona, as well as the visually stunning staging of »Don Carlo« with Alexandros Stavrakakis as Filippo II. Also returning to the Semperoper stage are Korngold’s »Die tote Stadt« conducted by Dmitri Jurowski and with soloists Klaus Florian Vogt and Elena Guseva, Tchaikovsky’s »Pique Dame« with Sergey Polyakov, John Lundgren and Christoph Pohl, and Richard Strauss’s »Elektra« with Lise Lindstrom in the title role and Doris Soffel as Klytaemnestra. Audiences will also be treated to the return of Rolando Villazón, performing the title role of Monteverdi’s »L’Orfeo«. Another absolute highlight in the 2023/24 programme will be the return – after 10 years – of Wagner’s »Tristan und Isolde«. The Staatskapelle and a star-studded cast including Camilla Nylund, Christa Mayer, Klaus Florian Vogt and Georg Zeppenfeld will perform under the baton of Christian Thielemann. Ballet fans can look forward to a revival of Aaron S. Watkin’s »Sleeping Beauty«, adapted by Marcelo Gomes, as well as the double-ballet evening »A Midsummer Night’s Dream«, featuring works by Frederick Ashton and David Dawson.
In addition to the above-mentioned premieres, the Semper Zwei venue will host revivals of »Blues Brothers« and »Die kahle Sängerin« (The Bald Singer) as well as the current season’s new production of »The Toxic Avenger« and Martin Smolka’s »Das schlaue Gretchen«, which all belong to the Junge Szene programme. Together with his team, the artistic director of Semper Zwei and the Junge Szene, Manfred Weiß, has also successfully expanded the Semper Education programme for educational institutions as well as for children, young people and adults. Thus, in 2023/24, the very well-received »Oper mobil« productions »Nils Karlsson Däumling«, »Kirsas Musik« and »Die Kuh Gloria« can once again be booked by kindergartens and schools for in-house performances.
From 27 March to 7 April 2024, a second outing of the revived »Richard Strauss Days at the Semperoper« will feature performances of »Die Frau ohne Schatten« and Mozart’s »The Magic Flute« as well as »Elektra«. These musical highlights will be complemented by a screening of the 1916 silent film version of »Der Rosenkavalier« directed by Robert Wiene, which premiered here at the Saxon State Theatre under the baton of Richard Strauss himself. A reconstructed version of the movie and film score from 2006 has successfully resurrected the original marriage of moving image and music while coherently replacing the lost ending of the work. Other unmissable events include a non-subscription Staatskapelle concert under the baton of Antonio Pappano as well as an orchestral chamber evening and a matinee song recital with Christiane Karg and Gerold Huber.
After the pandemic-related slump in cultural life, our efforts to return to a normal performance schedule and to present artists from all over the world in outstanding music and dance theatre productions and concerts have been rewarded with extremely positive attendance figures. In its annual press conference for 2023, the Saxon State Opera can point to an extremely satisfactory balance sheet for both the past and the current season: in the calendar year 2022, the Semperoper Dresden welcomed around 177,000 visitors to 223 performances in its venues; taking into account the pandemic-related audience restrictions, this translates into an occupancy rate of 66.2 per cent in its core activities. With a revenue of 12 million euros in its core business in the financial year 2022, the cost recovery ratio is still being evaluated and will be announced at a later date. In the current season, the Semperoper Dresden is already forecasting a hugely promising occupancy rate of around 95 percent in the first quarter of 2023.
General ticket sales for the 2023/24 season begins at 10 am on Wednesday, 19 April 2023. Ticket sales for the performances of »Tristan und Isolde« and »Die Frau ohne Schatten« will begin on 10 am on Wednesday, 7 June 2023; orders can be made online or via our Visitor Service – please note that only two tickets can be purchased per booking for these performances. In order to make the audio-visual opera experience as accessible as possible to all visitors, the Semperoper will in future offer blind and visually-impaired audience members an audio description of the stage action, set and costumes at selected performances. Our special services in this regard also include tactile stage tours and blind-friendly introductions to works before curtain-up.
Ticket reservations for scheduled performances can be made by telephone, in writing or in person at the Schinkelwache box office. In the current season, the Semperoper Dresden will become an official ticketing partner of CTS EVENTIM, one of the world’s leading ticketing services and providers of live entertainment. The new ticketing and booking system will offer our international audience numerous advantages when ordering tickets for the 2023/24 season. Easy online bookings can be made via the newly introduced ticketing system EVENTIM.Inhouse, which enables seat-specific booking of up to 15 tickets via the 3D auditorium floorplan. Tickets can then be printed out via Print@Home or downloaded to a smartphone. In addition, the new »Simply Control Gates« system enables fast and uncomplicated admission to events by means of an individual smartphone code.
From the start of Peter Theiler’s directorship in the 2018/19 season, internationally renowned stars of the contemporary arts scene such as Andreas Mühe, Gerhard Richter, Cornelius Völker, Thomas Ruff and Rosemarie Trockel have provided individual works as motifs for the design of each season’s premiere posters, thereby lending additional brilliance to the annual advertising campaign. The Semperoper is delighted that another extraordinary artist, Marton Perlaki, has agreed for his motifs to be used in the 2023/24 season. This rising star is an ideal choice to continue this artistic series. The 10 poster motifs for the 2023/24 season were selected together with the artist from his photographic portfolio to reflect the content of the respective operas or ballet evenings, and then made available to the Semperoper for the design of the premiere posters.
The complete press dossier as well as phots of the press conference and the series of premiere posters for 2023/24 can be downloaded from our press area.