Semperoper

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File:Semperoper at night.jpg
Semperoper at night

The Semperoper is the opera house of the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden (Saxon State Opera) and the concert hall of the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden (Saxon State Orchestra). It is also home to the Semperoper ballet. The building is located near the Elbe River in the historic centre of Dresden, Germany.

The opera house was originally built by the architect Gottfried Semper in 1841. After a devastating fire in 1869, the opera house was rebuilt, partly again by Semper, and completed in 1878. The opera house has a long history of premieres, including major works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.

History

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The first opera house around 1850
File:Dresden Hoftheater J C A Richter.jpg
Interior of the first opera house in 1841
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Semperoper with the Theatre Square
File:Opernsaal der Semperoper in Dresden.jpg
Interior of the Semperoper today

The first opera house at the location of today's Semperoper was built by the architect Gottfried Semper. It opened on 13 April 1841 with an opera by Carl Maria von Weber. The building style itself is debated among many, as it has features that appear in three styles; Early Renaissance and Baroque, with Corinthian style pillars typical of Greek classical revival. Perhaps the most suitable label for this style would be eclecticism, where influences from many styles are used, a practice most common during this period.<ref name="Loeffler" >Fritz Löffler: Das alte Dresden – Geschichte seiner Bauten. 16th ed. Leipzig: Seemann, 2006, ISBN 978-3-86502-000-0 Template:De icon</ref> Nevertheless, the opera building, Semper's first, is regarded as one of the most beautiful European opera houses.

Following a devastating fire in 1869, the citizens of Dresden immediately set about rebuilding their opera house. They demanded that Gottfried Semper do the reconstruction, even though he was then in exile because of his involvement in the May 1849 uprising in Dresden. The architect had his son, Manfred Semper, build the second opera house using his plans. Completed in 1878, it was built in Neo-Renaissance style. During the construction period, performances were held at the Gewerbehaussaal, which opened in 1870.<ref name="Loeffler" />

The building is considered to be a prime example of "Dresden Baroque" architecture. It is situated on the Theatre Square in central Dresden on the bank of the Elbe River. On top of the portal there is a Panther quadriga with a statue of Dionysos. The interior was created by architects of the time, such as Johannes Schilling. Monuments on the portal depict artists, such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, William Shakespeare, Sophocles, Molière and Euripides. The building also features work by Ernst Rietschel and Ernst Julius Hähnel.

In the pre-war years, the Semperoper premiered many of the works of Richard Strauss.

In 1945, during the last months of World War II, the building was largely destroyed again, this time by the bombing of Dresden and subsequent firestorm, leaving only the exterior shell standing. Exactly 40 years later, on 13 February 1985, the opera's reconstruction was completed. It was rebuilt to be almost identical to its appearance before the war, but with the benefit of new stage machinery and an accompanying modern rear service building . The Semperoper reopened with the opera that was performed just before the building's destruction in 1945, Carl Maria von Weber's "Der Freischütz".

When the Elbe flooded in 2002, the building suffered heavy water damage. With substantial help from around the world, it reopened in December of that year.

Present day administration and operations

Today, the orchestra for most operas is the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden. The Generalmusikdirektor (GMD) of the Semperoper is normally a different person from that of the Staatskapelle when it presents concerts. Exceptions have been Karl Böhm, Hans Vonk, and Fabio Luisi who have held both positions. Luisi resigned as chief conductor of the Semperoper in February 2010, and was succeeded by Christian Thielemann beginning in the 2012/13 season.The general director of the Semperoper from the 2010-2011 season until her death in 2012 was Ulrike Hessler. As of the 2010-2011 season, the opera director of the Semperoper is Eytan Pessen.

The Semperoper's 2011/12 season offered 19 premieres, including eight operas, five ballet productions, two gala evenings and four productions of the youth programme, Junge Szene.<ref >Template:Cite web</ref>

Artists associated with the Semperoper

Conductors

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  • Carl Gottlieb Reißiger
  • Richard Wagner
  • Ernst von Schuch (1889–1914)
  • Fritz Reiner (1914–1921)
  • Fritz Busch (1922–1933)
  • Karl Böhm (1934–1942)

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  • Karl Elmendorff (1943–1944)
  • Joseph Keilberth (1945–1951)
  • Rudolf Kempe (1949–1952)
  • Otmar Suitner (1960–1964)
  • Kurt Sanderling (1964–1967)
  • Herbert Blomstedt (1975–1985)

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  • Hans Vonk (1985–1990)
  • Giuseppe Sinopoli (1992–2001)
  • Semyon Bychkov (2001–2002)
  • Bernard Haitink (2002–2004)
  • Fabio Luisi (2004–2012)
  • Christian Thielemann (from 2012)

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Singers

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  • Bernd Aldenhoff
  • Elisabeth Höngen
  • Elisabeth Rethberg

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  • Ernestine Schumann-Heink
  • Erna Sack
  • Richard Tauber

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  • Tino Pattiera
  • Meta Seinemeyer
  • Therese Malten

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  • Edda Moser
  • Hermann Wedekind
  • Marie Wittich

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Dancers

Principals

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  • Polina Semionova (Principal Guest Artist)
  • Natalia Sologub
  • Yumiko Takeshima

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  • Elena Vostrotina
  • Guy Albouy
  • Ji?í Bubení?ek

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  • Raphaël Coumes-Marquet
  • Dmitry Semionov (Resident Guest Artist)

Template:Col-end First Character Soloists

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  • Carola Schwab

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  • Ralf Arndt-Vogt

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  • Hannes-Detlef Vogel

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  • Svetlana Gileva
  • Anna Merkulova
  • Arika Togawa

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  • Julia Weiss
  • Maximilian Genov

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  • Oleg Klymyuk
  • István Simon
  • Jón Vallejo

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  • Denis Veginy
  • Fabien Voranger

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  • Séverine de Cussac
  • Chantelle Kerr

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  • Sangeun Lee
  • Ana Presta

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  • Claudio Cangialosi
  • Laurent Guilbaud

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  • Sarah Hay
  • Raquél Martínez
  • Carmen Piqueras

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  • Briony Viele
  • Duosi Zhu
  • Mario Hernandez

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  • Milán Madar
  • Pavel Moskvito
  • Johannes Schmidt

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  • Michael Tucker

Template:Col-end Corps de Ballet

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  • Caroline Beach
  • Elena Diéguez
  • Kanako Fujimoto
  • Jenny Laudadio
  • Alice Mariani
  • Sara Michelle Murawski

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  • Yuki Ogasawara
  • Charlie Peters
  • Susanna Santoro
  • Chiara Scarrone
  • Jenni Schäferhoff
  • Gina Scott

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  • Zarina Stahnke
  • Mónica Tardáguila
  • Vanja Vitman
  • Simona Volpe
  • Mykola Abramenko
  • Emanuele Corsini

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  • Vitaly Fadeev
  • Richard Jones
  • Jan Oratynski
  • Saverio Pescucci
  • Francesco Pio Ricci
  • Boris Richir
  • Ian Whalen

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Operas that premiered at the Semperoper

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  • 1842: Wagner – Rienzi, 20 October
  • 1843: Wagner – The Flying Dutchman, 2 January
  • 1845: Wagner – Tannhäuser, 19 October
  • 1895: Eugen d'Albert: Ghismonda, 28. November
  • 1901: Richard Strauss – Feuersnot, 22 November
  • 1905: Richard Strauss – Salome, 9 December
  • 1909: Richard Strauss – Elektra, 25 January
  • 1911: Richard Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier, 26 January
  • 1913: Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari – L'amore medico, 4 December
  • 1916: Eugen d'Albert – Die toten Augen, 5 March
  • 1917: Hans Pfitzner – Das Christ-Elflein (2nd version), 11 December
  • 1924: Richard Strauss – Intermezzo, 4 November
  • 1925: Ferruccio Busoni – Doktor Faust, 21 May
  • 1926: Kurt Weill – Der Protagonist, 27 March
  • 1926: Paul Hindemith – Cardillac, 9 November
  • 1927: Emil von Reznicek – Spiel oder Ernst
  • 1927: Othmar Schoeck – Penthesilea, 8 January
  • 1928: Richard Strauss – Die ägyptische Helena, 6 June
  • 1930: Othmar Schoeck – Vom Fischer and syner Fru, 3 October

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  • 1932: Eugen d'Albert – Mr Wu
  • 1933: Richard Strauss – Arabella, 1 July
  • 1935: Richard Strauss – Die schweigsame Frau, 24 June
  • 1935: Rudolf Wagner-Régeny – Der Günstling, 20 February
  • 1937: Othmar Schoeck – Massimilla Doni, 2 March
  • 1938: Richard Strauss – Daphne, 15 October
  • 1940: Heinrich Sutermeister – Romeo und Julia, 13 April
  • 1942: Heinrich Sutermeister – Die Zauberinsel, 31 October
  • 1944: Gottfried von Einem – Prinzessin Turandot, 5 February
  • 1944: Joseph Haas – Die Hochzeit des Jobs, 2 July
  • 1985: Siegfried Matthus – Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke, 16 February
  • 1989: Eckehard Meyer – Der goldene Topf, 1989
  • 1998: Matthias Pintscher – Thomas Chatterton, 25 May
  • 2001: Peter Ruzicka – Celan, 25 March
  • 2008: Manfred Trojahn – La grande magia, 10 May
  • 2010: Hans Werner Henze – Gisela (Dresden version), 20 November
  • 2011: Miroslav Srnka – Jakub Flügelbunt , 15 December
  • 2012: Johannes Wulff-Woesten – Die Konferenz der Tiere, 8 July
  • 2013: Johannes Wulff-Woesten – Prinz Bussel, 27 April

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See also

  • Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden

References

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External links

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