Semperoper Dresden in 2024-25

The 2024/25 programme of the Semperoper Dresden

On 14 March 2024, the designated Artistic Director of the Saxon State Opera, Nora Schmid, presented her programme for the upcoming opera and ballet season in Dresden. Audiences can look forward to no fewer than 317 performances, including ten new opera productions and four new ballet productions, 27 revivals and numerous special events, covering all artistic periods from the Baroque age to the present day. The aim is to celebrate Dresden’s unique history in music and dance while creating space for imagination and fresh creative ideas.

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From the devil’s work to fairy tales to operatic science fiction: 10 brand new productions at the Semperoper will give visitors the chance to experience and discover a wide range of music theatre staged by exciting directors such as Eva-Maria Höckmayr, Axel Ranisch, Evgeny Titov, Mart van Berckel, James Bonas, Grégoire Pont, Lorenzo Fioroni, Barbara Wysocka, Claus Guth and Lars Marcel Braun.

The programme ranges from the Dresden premiere of Arrigo Boito’s Mefistofele featuring Krzysztof Bączyk in the title role and actress Martina Gedeck, to Richard Strauss’s opera Intermezzo, which premiered in Dresden 100 years ago, to a production of Sergei Prokofiev’s madcap opera The Love for Three Oranges. Families can look forward to the very first performance in the Semperoper of Maurice Ravel’s magical L’enfant et les sortilèges in a production by the Opéra National de Lyon in cooperation with Auditori de Barcelona. Later in the season, the curtain will rise on a new Dresden production of Kaija Saariaho’s final opera, Innocence, following acclaimed performances in London, Helsinki and Amsterdam. The classic opera Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod is returning along with Leonard Bernstein’s eclectic operetta Candide, which will feature actor Jan Josef Liefers performing witty interludes by the great German humourist Loriot. And Semperoper audiences will have their first opportunity to enjoy a staged version of George Frideric Handel’s Saul in a production by the Musiktheater an der Wien.

Opera meets spoken word in Pedro Beriso and Mart van Berckel’s work Ändere die Welt! (Change the World!), produced by the Dutch National Opera, which will be performed in our Semper Zwei venue. Later in the season, the contemporary opera humanoid by Leonard Evers, one of the most successful composers of music theatre for children and young adults, will conclude the series of opera premieres for 2024/25.

The new programme also features celebrated Semperoper productions that, in some cases, have not been performed for many years, such as Beethoven’s Fidelio, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Richard Strauss’s Salome, Verdi’s Otello and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman and Lohengrin. Numerous singers will make their Dresden debuts, joined by the many conductors ascending the Staatskapelle’s rostrum for the first time.

… from modern choreography to ballet legends and dance spectacles: The Semperoper Ballett will also see a changing of the guard in the new season when the Swiss-Canadian choreographer and designer Kinsun Chan becomes the company’s Artistic Director. Chan is bringing his choreography Wonderful World to Dresden as the first ballet premiere of the 2024/25 season. Devised together with Martin Zimmermann, this work was first performed in 2022 in St. Gallen as a co-production between the St. Gallen Theatre and the Migros Culture Percentage Dance Festival Steps. The Dresden premiere will be held in the Kleines Haus of the Staatsschauspiel. One must-see for all dance fans will be the premiere of Nijinsky, a tribute to the exceptional dancer Vaslav Nijinsky by ballet legend John Neumeier, which premiered in Hamburg in 2000. The upcoming programme also features a new two-part ballet evening Vice Versa, which combines Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s 2014 creation Noetic with a work by Imre and Marne van Opstal first performed in Dresden.

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the dance ensemble at Dresden’s opera house, a three-part choreographic retrospective and outlook on the history of ballet in the Saxon capital will be created in Semper Zwei. Entitled Tag Team, it is based on the work of Francesca Frassinelli, Julian Nicosia and Giovanni Insaudo. A stage space created by Kinsun Chan for this event will also serve as an exhibition and meeting place for special formats required by other birthday events such as the ballet gala Dresdance 2025 featuring all of the city’s ballet companies, the dance event 200×200 with students from the city’s Palucca University of Dance and the Tanz Talks.

In addition to Swan Lake and Peer Gynt by Johan Inger, the Semperoper Ballett’s programme of revivals includes the three-part ballet evening Classics featuring choreographies by George Balanchine, Justin Peck and Twyla Tharp as well as the classical ballet The Nutcracker created by Aaron S. Watkin and Jason Beechey after Marius Petipa.

And much, much more …: This season’s programme will also include other events such as our popular matinées and soirées as well as the various performances in Semper Zwei. Other musical highlights in the 2024/25 season are sure to be an evening with director, puppeteer and concert whistler Nikolaus Habjansong recitals with soprano Marlis Petersen and mezzo-soprano Christa Mayer as well as the traditional Advent Concert featuring ensemble members and the Semperoper children’s choir. The Semper Bar in our Semper Zwei venue will host evenings with Axel Ranisch, Patrick Hahn and Aaron Pegram as well as an event featuring the music and poetry of the GDR with Axel Ranisch, Ragna Schirmer and Matthias Daneck entitled VolkseigenTon and, of course, foot-stomping performances in our series A Window on Jazz.

The coming season also brings a series of jubilees: the 40th anniversary of the reopening of the Semperoper will be on 13 February 2025; the Richard Strauss opera Intermezzo celebrates the 100th anniversary of its premiere in Dresden on 4 November 2024; and the Semperoper Ballett can look back on 200 years of dancing on 1 April 2025.

Imagine …: The 2024/25 programme reflects Nora Schmid’s ambitions for the years to come: to build bridges between the past and the present via art performed at the highest level as well as to open doors to new impulses in a creative and innovative way. Under her leadership, the Semperoper Dresden will encourage people from near and far to experience the theatre as a place to get together, a vibrant hub where both the joyful and the tragic can fire the imagination and stimulate reflection:

As Nora Schmid says: ‘The Semperoper reflects the highs and lows in the city’s history; it is a rich well of musical tradition from which we drink deeply when creating each season’s programme. With all of the arts that can be experienced here, I hope that we are able to make a real contribution to an open and welcoming society. Our guests expect us to achieve excellence in all our activities; yet excellence can only emerge in a space that does not smother creative thought. My aim is to always have more ideas than we can realise and thus develop an artistic spirit that touches people’s hearts and brings them into conversation with one another. A wonderful evening at the Semperoper can do all of this!

Nora Schmid’s appointment as Artistic Director of the Semperoper marks the end of Peter Theiler’s six-year tenure. With her previous knowledge of the Semperoper as chief dramaturge and her subsequent eight years of experience gained as the head of Graz Opera, she knows the international theatre scene very well and is aware of the Semperoper’s standing as an international beacon of culture and, moreover, a beloved institution with deep roots in Saxony.

Swiss-born Nora Schmid’s is supported in her work by two new members of the Semperoper’s artistic team: Dr Jörg Rieker, the Deputy Artistic Director and Director of Dramaturgy and Communication, and Kinsun Chan, the designated Artistic Director of the Semperoper Ballett. Other fresh faces are Jan Hoffmann, who takes over as director of the State Opera Chorus, and Andrea Streibl-Harms, the future director of the Semperoper Dresden’s education initiative Semperoper Aktiv!

On 1 August 2024, Italian maestro Daniele Gatti will succeed Christian Thielemann as Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden. Nora Schmid also welcomes the orchestra’s new General Manager, Annekatrin Fojuth. The Staatskapelle’s programme for the 2024/25 season will be announced at its own press conference on 3 April 2024.

With regard to the 2024/25 season under the new Artistic Director, Wolfgang Rothe, Managing Director of Saxon State Theatres, points out: ‘As things stand, the Semperoper is likely to show a positive trend in attendance figures by the end of the current season; after the tough coronavirus period, we are thus now seeing audience sizes return to normal. As the new Artistic Director, Nora Schmid will surely take over a theatre with very encouraging attendance rates for the 2024/25 season, which, despite all of today’s challenges, will also provide her with a solid foundation to successfully implement her artistic plans for the future of the Semperoper Dresden.’

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