Kristine Opolais, Christian Gerhaher & Rachel Willis-Sørensen Highlight Staatskapelle Dresden’s 2019-20 Season

By Nicole Kuchta
(© Semperoper Dresden/Matthias Creutziger)

Staatskapelle Dresden has announced its 2019-20 season. For the purposes of this article, we will focus primarily on the vocal performances.

The season will open with Symphonic Diversity, split into two programs over three days. On the first two days, Myung When-Chung will conduct Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto, featuring Chinese pianist Yuja Wang, as well as Brahms’s Second Symphony. The program for the third day will include Carl Maria von Weber’s Overture to “Der Freischütz,” Georges Enescu’s “Sept Chansons de Clément Marot” Op. 15 for voice and chamber ensemble, and Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D-Major, Op. 73. Latvian Soprano Kristine Opolais will be featured vocally.

Performance Dates: Aug. 31 – Sept. 2, 2019

Herbert Blomstedt will lead the orchestra during Peer Not Into My Songs!, featuring baritone Christian Gerhaher. The program will include Mahler’s “Rückert-Lieder” and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A-major, WAB 106.

Performance Date: Sept. 1, 2019

European Guests in Dresden, led by conductor and harpsichordist Ton Koopman, will showcase soloists soprano Robin Johannsen, alto Maarten Engeltjes, tenor Mauro Peter, and bass Manuel Walser. Three-hundred years ago, the Court Orchestra (today’s Staatskapelle) performed several works during the wedding celebrations of Saxon Elector Friedrich August II and Maria Josepha of Austria. One of those pieces, Heinichen’s “La Gara degli Dei” (“The Competition of the Gods”), will be once again be performed by the ensemble. Haydn’s Symphony No. 98 in B-major, Hob. I:98 will follow, and Koopman will sit at the harpsichord for its final movement.

Performance Date: Sept. 22, 2019

Next in the lineup is Seven Doors, Nine Minatures. David Robertson will conduct a concert performance of Bartók’s “Bluebeard’s Castle,” featuring Elena Zhidkova as Judith and Matthias Goerne as Bluebeard. Nine orchestral miniatures by Composer-in-Residence Aribert Reimann will follow, described in the press release as “aphoristic explorations of the poetry of Paul Celan, here transmuted into a purely musical sphere.”

Performance Dates: Nov. 10 – 12, 2019

Celebrate the holidays with the Staatskapelle during Sounds of Joyful Anticipation at Dresden’s Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), where “moments of reflection, the pleasure of candlelight as well as the promise of good things [will] foster an atmosphere of reconciliation and a longing for comfort and safety.” Soloists and program details will be announced at a later date.

Performance Date: Nov. 30, 2019

The year will end “on a sparkling note” with Franz Lehár’s classic operetta “The Land of Smiles,” conducted by Christian Thielemann. Soloists will be announced at a later date.

Performance Dates: Dec. 30 & 31, 2019

During Lamentations, Daniel Harding will conduct Purcell’s “Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary” and Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 (performance version by Deryck Cooke). The Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden will be featured along with the orchestra.

Performance Dates: Feb. 13 & 14, 2020

Christian Thielemann will lead the orchestra during Behold the Sun!, a concert featuring Schönberg’s “Gurre-Lieder” for vocal soloists, choir, and orchestra. The cast will include Stephen Gould as Waldemar, Camilla Nylund as Tove, Christa Mayer as Waldtaube, Kwangchul Youn as Bauer, and Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke as Klaus-Narr, performing alongside the Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden. Franz Grundheber will appear as the Narrator.

Performance Dates: Mar. 8 – 10, 2019

Bach – Beethoven – Today will showcase soloists soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen, mezzo-soprano Stepanka Pucalkova, tenor Benjamin Bernheim, and bass Gábor Bretz, along with the MDR-Rundfunkchor. The program will include Beethoven’s Mass in C-major, op. 86 for vocal soloists, choir, and orchestra, preceded by “arrangements of Bach’s fugues from the 20th and 21st centuries, each not merely a translation into orchestral sound but rather a reinterpretation of the original.”

Performance Dates: Apr. 5 & 6, 2020