Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Le Nozze di Figaro
Michele Gamba was born in Milan, where he studied piano and composition at the Conservatory "Giuseppe Verdi" and obtained a degree in philosophy at the State University. At the same time he perfected his piano technique in with Maria Tipo at the Fiesole School of Music and vocal accompaniment and conducting at the Musikhochschule in Vienna, the Accademia Chigiana in Siena and at the Royal Academy in London.
After his first steps as a brilliant solo pianist, he made his debut in 2009 as a conductor at the Royal Festival Hall with the 'Future Firsts' of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and subsequently collaborates as musical assistant at the Hamburg Staatsoper.
In 2012 he began his collaboration with the ROH Covent Garden, first as Conductor and coach to 'Jette Parker Young Artists Programme', then, by personal invitation of Sir Antonio Pappano, as Jette Parker Associate Conductor and his assistant. He works closely for several opera productions with the musical director of Covent Garden and assists him in numerous symphony concerts with orchestras such as that of the ROH, the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic.
At the ROH Michele Gamba conducts “Bastien und Bastienne”, “Folk Songs” by Berio, excerpts from “Eugene Onegin”, “Cosi fan tutte” and “Les Pecheurs de Perles”. In the meantime he performs with other opera productions and symphonic programs (among others, with the Welsh National Orchestra, Southbank Sinfonia, Orchestra of the Veneto).
In 2015, invited by Daniel Barenboim at the Berlin Staatsoper as Kapellmeister and his Assistant, he prepares for the Maestro the orchestra, the soloists and the chorus of “La traviata” and is again invited for the staging of “Simon Boccanegra” and “Il trovatore”. In November he conducts al the Staatsoper “Le nozze di Figaro” in the Jürgen Flimm production enjoying great success with the audience and critics.
In March 2015, replacing the appointed conductor suddenly unwell, Michele Gamba had his last-minute debut at Teatro alla Scala conducting “I due Foscari”, obtaining a great success and was invited in the following season for “The abduction from the Seraglio for children”.
Engagements in 2016/17 include a return to the Hamburgische Staatsoper for a revival of Stefan Herheim´s production of “Le nozze di Figaro”, a title he also conducts at the Teatro alla Scala, concerts with I Pomeriggi Musicali in Milan and house debuts at Opera de Montpellier in Rossini's "Armide" as well as at Teatro dell'Opera di Roma in "Rigoletto".
Il Conte d'Almaviva
Alexey Bogdanchikov is a young Russian baritone. Born in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in 1985. In the 2011/2012 season he embarked upon his first resident contract in the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Alexey Bogdanchikov previously studied at the Galina Vishnevskaya Opera Centre and the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory in Moscow, where, in October 2012, he returned to complete his master’s degree in music. In September 2012 he won the 2nd prize in the prestigious European Vocal Competition “Debut”. He has also taken part in various Russian vocal competitions and won prizes in Smolensk (2006) and Rusa (2007). In 2010 he was winner of the Armel Opera Competition in Hungary, which led to his engagement in the role of Barrett in Marco Tutino’s opera “The Servant” at the Armel Opera Festival in Szeged. He sang this role again in Pilzen, Czech Republic, and, in, 2011, in Lugo, Italy. In January 2011 Alexey Bogdanchikov made his debut at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna as Wolfram in “Tannhauser”.
Alexey Bogdanchikov’s repertoire includes number of important roles in Russian, Italian and German operas like Onegin in "Eugene Onegin", Robert in "Iolanta" and Prince Eletsky in "The Queen of Spades" by Tchaikovsky, Belcore in "L’elisir d’amore" by Donizetti, Marcello in "La Boheme" and Ping in "Turandot" by Puccini, Wolfram in "Tannhauser" by Wagner and Barrett in Marco Tutino’s "The Servant". In June 2013 he represented Russia at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Guest contracts in 2013/2014 included Marchese in "La Traviata" in Guangzhou Opera House, at The Teatro Luciano Pavarotti in Modena and at the Teatro Municipale in Piacenza Alexey made his debut as Paolo Albiani in "Simone Boccanegra" next to Leo Nucci and Carlo Colombara. Also Teatro Delle Muse, Ancona, engaged Alexey to sing the role of Belcore in "Elisir d’amore" and Teatro Dell’Opera di Roma to do Morales in "Carmen". Also Alexey sang the role of Onegin in Astrakhan opera house and in Magnitogorsk. From 2014 Alexey Bogdanchikov is a member of ensemble of Moscow Kolobov Novaya Opera Theatre where he made his debut in the title role in "Eugene Onegin" by Tchaikovsky. In the season 2014/2015 he made his debutes as Conte in "Le Nozze di Figaro", as Prince Eletsky in "The Queen of Spades" and as Mercutio in "Romeo and Julliete" by Gounod.
In 2015/16 he joined the ensemble of the Hamburg State Opera.
Foto: © Thomas Kunsch
La Contessa d'Almaviva
Iulia Maria Dan
Romanian Soprano Iulia Maria Dan graduated from the National University of Music in Bucharest as a student of Maria Slatinaru-Nistor. In 2011, she became a member of the Opernstudio of the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, where she was also a member of the Ensemble. In August of 2015, Ms. Dan became a member of the Ensemble at Staatsoper Hamburg. Her engagements there for the 2016/17 season include First Lady in a new production of “Die Zauberlföte”, Mimi in “La Bohème”, Contessa di Almaviva in “Le nozze di Figaro”, Helena in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Mathilde in “Guillaume Tell”.
In the 2015/16 season, Ms. Dan sang Contessa di Almaviva, Rosalinde in “Die Fledermaus”, Fiodiligi in “Cosi fan tutte”, Tatyana in “Eugene Onegin” and Agathe in “Der Freischütz”, all at the Staatsoper Hamburg. She also sang Ofelia in Franco Faccio’s Amleto at the Bregenz Festival in Austria. In the 2014/15 season, Ms. Dan made a successful debut as the title role in Massenet’s “Manon” at Oper Graz in Austria. She also sang Waldvogel in “Siegfried” at the Bayerische Staatsoper and premiered “Francesca da Rimini”, music by Stefan Wirth, at the Münchner Opernfestspiele. In August of 2014, Ms. Dan sang Aminta in “Il re pastore” at the Verbier Festival in Switzerland, an appearance received with great reviews. In the 2013/2014 season, as a member of the Ensemble at the Bayerische Staatsoper, she sang Frasquita in “Carmen”, Giannetta in“ L’elisir d’amore”, La contessa di Ceprano in “Rigoletto”, and Dama di Lady Macbeth in Verdi’s “Macbeth”. Ms. Dan’s 2012/13 engagements at the Bayerische Staatsoper included Hilda Mack in Hans Werner Henze’s “Elegie für junge Liebende”, Jano in Janácek’s “Jenufa”, Papagena in “Die Zauberlföte”, and Füchslein Schlaukopf in Janácek’s “The Cunning Little Vixen”.
Iulia Maria Dan has performed in concerts in Bucharest, Modena, Gdansk, Milan and Munich. In 2010, she sang the Soprano solo in the world premiere of acclaimed Romanian composer Felicia Donceanu’s “Salbe – Monodrama for Soprano and Orchestra” at the Bucharest Radio Hall. In 2011, Ms. Dan debuted with great success as Gilda in “Rigoletto” at the Romanian National Opera. That same year, she received a Special Award for Most Promising Young Artist at the renowned Hans Gabor Belvedere International Singing Competition in Vienna, where she was also awarded the Graz Opera Special Prize and the Soroptimist Prize.
In 2010, Ms. Dan won the Grand Prize at the Ionel Perlea National Song Competition and Second Prize at the Hariclea Darclee International Singing Competition in Romania. That same year, she won a Special Prize at the Arta Florescu Masters of the Lyrical Art International Competition in Bucharest. In 2008, Ms. Dan won First Prize in the Orange Young Musicians Competition, First Prize in the Romanian Song Festival and Competition, Special Prize for “Interpretation of Music by Mozart” in Mihail Jora and Dinu Lipatti’s National Competition, and Special Prize for “Chamber Music Style – Martha Joja” in the Ionel Perlea International Song Festival and Competition.
Foto: © Kartal Karagedik
Russian soprano Katerina Tretyakova has thrilled audiences in numerous major roles of her repertoire, such as Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor), Violetta (La Traviata), Gilda (Rigoletto), Adina (L’Elisir d’Amore), Adele (Die Fledermaus) and Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Musetta (La Bohème), Nannetta (Falstaff), Gretel (Hänsel und Gretel) and others.
With lightness, intensity and the perfection of her singing, her stage performances are compelling. She has received considerable acclaim for her interpretations of roles in seldom-performed works such as the opera “Bliss” by Australian composer Brett Dean, world-premiered in 2010, Cunibert in Georg Philipp Telemann's baroque “Gänsemarkt opera”, “Flavius Bertaridus, King of the Langobards”, Ighino in Hans Pfitzner's “Palestrina” and Anna in Heinrich Marschner’s “Hans Heiling”.
2006 she made her debut at Salzburger Festspiele as Hyacinthus in Mozarts “Apollo et Hyacinthus“. From 2011 until 2016 Katerina Tretyakova was member of the ensemble at Hamburg State Opera, since then she works as a freelance artist.
She often makes guest appearances in Austria and works with famous conductors as Ivor Bolton, Bertrand de Billy, Alessandro De Marchi, Simone Young and Ottavio Dantone.
The soprano is also visibly comfortable on the concert stage, where she guests at Musikverein Wien, Konzerthaus Wien and Concertgebouw Amsterdam. Katerina Tretyakova was distinguished with numerous prizes and awards.
Foto: © Shirley Suarez
Alin Anca wurde 1986 in Rumänien geboren. Er studierte Gesang an der Gheorge Dima-Musikhochschule in Klausenburg, wo er 2010 mit einem Diplom abschloss. Schon während seines Studiums war er an der Opera Nationala Romana in Klausenburg engagiert. Dort interpretierte er unter anderem folgende Partien: die Titelrolle in „Don Giovanni“, den Großinquisitor in Verdis „Don Carlo“, Fiorillo in „Il Barbiere di Siviglia“, Dulcamara in „L’Elisir d’Amore“ und Colline in „La Bohème“. Weitere Engagements führten ihn an die Opera Nationala in Bukarest. Neben den Rollen im Bereich des Musiktheaters sang Alin Anca auch in Puccinis „Messa di Gloria“, Dvoráks „Stabat Mater“ und im Verdi-Requiem. Von 2011 bis 2013 war er Stipendiat der Liz Mohn Kultur- und Musikstiftung sowie Mitglied im Opernstudio der Staatsoper Berlin.
Seit September 2013 gehört er zum Ensemble der Staatsoper Hamburg und war bisher u.a. als Leporello (Don Giovanni), Pietro (Simon Boccanegra), Panthée (Les Troyens), Walther Fürst (Guillaume Tell) und als Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) zu erleben.
The “excellent” (Kurier) young Hungarian mezzo-soprano Dorottya Láng has earned international acclaim for her “ravishing” (Musik Heute) and “impeccable” talent. John Allison writes in The Telegraph that “she quickly showed herself to be a singer of great musical poise. …with rich and even tone rising to a pure top.”
Born in Budapest in 1986, Ms Láng studied at the Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Wien (Vienna’s University of Music and the Performing Arts) with Claudia Visca. Her awards and honours include Prize Winner of the 2012 Emmerich Smola Competition, Third Prize at the 2011 Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation Song Competition and Prize Winner at the 2013 Mozart Academie competition in Aix-en-Provence.
Highlights of her 2016/17 season include “Angelina” in Renaud Doucet’s La Cenerentola and “Hermia” in Simon Phillips A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Hamburgische Staatsoper; Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in the new Elbphilharmonie under Kent Nagano; Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in her Tonkünstler debut; a Schubertiade recital debut with Helmut Deutsch; and a further recital with Mr Deutsch at Budapest’s Palace of the Arts.
Foto: © Shirley Suarez
Born in Hanover, Katja Pieweck completed her studies in 1996 at the Hamburg Academy for Music and Theater. From 1997 to 1999 she was a member of the International Opera Studio at the Hamburg State Opera which eventually led to her engagement as an ensemble member in 1999. Here she has performed many roles including Mercedes (Carmen), Siegrune (Die Walküre), Magdalene (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Annina (Der Rosenkavalier), Mutter (Hänsel und Gretel), Fenena (Nabucco), Suzuki (Madame Butterfly), Mère Marie (Dialogues des Carmélites), Meg Page (Falstaff) und Marquise des Berkenfield (La Fille du Régiment). Katja Pieweck has made numerous appearances on prestigious opera stages including the Berlin Staatsoper, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and the Hanover State Opera. In addition to her activity as an opera singer She is a regular guest on the concert stage. Her repertoire includes works from all eras. Her career has been accompanied by numerous prizes and awards including the "Körber Foundation Oberdörfer Prize 2007" and the "Kulturpreis der Berenberg Bank Hamburg". In 2005 Katja Pieweck worked with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Symphonic Orchestra for a concert performance of Janácek’s "Jenufa". In February 2006 she sang with the Philharmonic Orchestra Hamburg in Hindemith’s "Sancta Susanna" under Simone Young’s baton. In 2007 the mezzo-soprano performed as Elvira in "Don Giovanni" at the Herrenchiemsee Festival. She also sang the part for mezzo-soprano in Bach’s "Christmas Oratorio" – a new Hamburg Ballet production – choreographed by John Neumeier. 2008 Katja Pieweck sang Fricka (Das Rheingold, Die Walküre) in the production of Wagner’s "Ring".
Seit 1991 ist Jürgen Sacher Mitglied der Hamburgischen Staatsoper. Hier ist er seitdem in zahlreichen Rollen aufgetreten, so als Andres in „Wozzeck“, Maler in „Lulu“, Truffaldino in Prokofjews „Die Liebe zu den drei Orangen“, Monostatos und 1. Geharnischter in „Die Zauberflöte“, Valzacchi in „Der Rosenkavalier“ und David in „Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg“. Zudem interpretierte er Junger Mann (Moses und Aron), Steuermann (Der fliegende Holländer), Peter Iwanow (Zar und Zimmermann), Pedrillo (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Walther von der Vogelweide (Tannhäuser), Goro (Madame Butterfly) und Graf Elemer (Arabella). Weitere Partien im Rahmen seiner Ensembletätigkeit sind die Knusperhexe in „Hänsel und Gretel“ und Raoul de St. Brioche in „Die lustige Witwe“. In der Hamburger Neuinszenierung von Wagners „Ring“ übernahm Jürgen Sacher in der Premierenserie des „Rheingold“ die Rolle des Mime. Außerdem war er als Loge in „Das Rheingold“ und als Mime in „Siegfried“ zu erleben. Zu seinen jüngsten Erfolgen in Hamburg zählen seine Rollendebüts als Herodes (Salome) 2010 und als Novagerio in einer Neuproduktion von „Palestrina“ 2011. In einer Neuproduktion von Telemanns „Flavius Bertaridus“ interpretierte er mit großem Erfolg Orontes. Außerdem wirkte er in „Der Meister und Margarita“ als Asasello, in „Ariadne auf Naxos“ als Tanzmeister, in Aribert Reimanns „Lear“ als Graf von Kent sowie in „Peter Grimes“ als Reverend Adams mit.
Regelmäßige Konzertauftritte gehören ebenfalls zu den Verpflichtungen des Tenors. Gastspiele führten Jürgen Sacher unter anderem an die Berliner Staatsoper, nach Brüssel, Barcelona, Kopenhagen, an die Mailänder Scala sowie zu den Salzburger Festspielen.
2010 sang er in zwei Neuproduktionen am Theater an der Wien: den Tanzmeister in „Ariadne auf Naxos“ und L´Aumonier in „Dialogues des Carmélites“.
Neben seinen Aufgaben an der Hamburger Staatsoper hat er den Herodes in der Saison 2013/14 auch an der Budapester Staatsoper und im Herbst 2014 unter John Neschling in einer Salome Neuproduktion am Teatro Municipal in Sao Paulo gesungen. Im Juni 2015 gastierte Jürgen Sacher beim Wagner Festival in Budapest unter Adam Fischer als Mime im Ring des Nibelungen und 2016 als Goro in Puccinis Butterfly an der Berliner Staatsoper sowie als Aegisth in Richard Strauss´ Elektra abermals am Teatro Municipal in Sao Paulo unter John Neschling.
Peter Galliard was born in Chur, Switzerland. He studied under Rico Peterelli, at the Conservatory in Feldkirch under Maria Eibenschütz and at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg under Rudolf Knoll. In 1985 he won First Prize at the International Mozart Competition in Salzburg. In 1986 Rolf Liebermann invited him to join the Hamburg State Opera where the tenor has been working until today. In Hamburg he sang roles such as Tamino in “Die Zauberflöte”, Jaquino in “Fidelio”, Cassio in “Otello”, Froh, Loge and Mime in “Das Rheingold”, Augustin Moser in “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, Alfred and Eisenstein in “Die Fledermaus”, Peter Iwanow in “Zar und Zimmermann”, Bardolfo in “Falstaff”, Captain in “Wozzeck”, the Witch Knusperhexe in “Hänsel und Gretel”, Lenskij in “Eugen Onegin”, Narraboth in “Salome” and Don Basilio in “Le Nozze di Figaro”.
In Amsterdam he sang the Prince in “Lulu and the Captain”. Peter Galliard also sang L'Aumonier in “Dialogues des Carmélites“ and Melot in “Tristan und Isolde“, Walther von der Vogelweide in “Tannhäuser“, Wolfgang Capito in “Mathis der Maler“, Goro in “Madame Butterfly“, Red Whiskers in “Billy Budd“ and Demon in “L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe“. Concert performances of “Siegfried” and “Das Rheingold” led him to Lisbon, Australia, Rome and Lucerne.
Peter Galliard performed at opera houses in Germany (Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper Berlin, Frankfurt, Dresden and Leipzig), Japan, Spain, France and Israel. The tenor worked with famous stage directors such as August Everding, Johannes Schaaf, Harry Kupfer and Peter Konwitschny as well as with renowned conductors such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Christian Thielemann, Ingo Metzmacher, Simone Young and Kirill Petrenko.
Tigran Martirossian was born in Armenia, where he studied physics. Following this, he began his musical studies at the Gnesin State Academy of Music with Prof. Artur Eizen and Prof. Pavel Lisitsian. During his studies, he made his operatic debut at the Moscow Municipal Theatre where he performed numerous roles including Salieri in Rimski-Korsakov's “Mozart and Salieri“, Gremin (Eugen Onegin), Farlaf (Ruslan and Lyudmila), Cecil (Maria Stuarda) and Stromminger (La Wally). In 1995 he was invited to perform at the Bolshoi Theatre, where he sang Ramfis (Aida), King Rene (Iolanta), Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor), as well as Pimen (Boris Godunov) and Galitsky (Prince Igor). In 1998 he made a highly successful debut as King Treff in Peter Ustinov’s new production of Prokofiev's “The Love of Three Oranges“. In 1993 he won the first prize at the “Competition of Russian Music“ in Moscow. In 1994 he was awarded a special prize and diploma at the “X. International Tchaikovsky Competition“. He took the second prize winner at the “Neue Stimmen“ Competition in Guetersloh in 1997 and in 1999 he won the first prize at the “Ondina Otta Competition“ in Marburg. In 2000 he was a finalist at Placido Domingo's “Operalia“ in Los Angeles, after which he was invited to perform Verdi's “Requiem“ in Washington conducted by Placido Domingo.
His engagements include concerts of Pulcinella at the Salzburg Festival, his debut with the London Symphony Orchestra in Shostakovich's King Lear conducted by Rostropovich and concerts of Shostakovich's Suite on verses by Michelangelo Buonarotti with the LSO. He also made his debut at the BBC Proms in the premiere of a contemporary Russian piece written by Gerard McBurney. In 2003 he sang two concerts of “Les Troyens“ in London and Birningham. The recording of this Opera with the LSO won the “Grammy Award for Best Classical Recording and Best Opera Recording“. 2003 also brought him debuts at the Lyric Opera Chicago and at Covent Garden. Tigran Martirossian joined the ensemble of the Hamburg State Opera in 2005/06 where he has sung Selim (Il Turco in Italia), Sparafucile (Rigoletto), Sagrestano (Tosca), Soljony in Peter Eötvös’ “Tri Sestri“, La Voce (Idomeneo), Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra), Dulcamara (L’Elisir d’Amore) and Sulpice (La Fille du Régiment). In the new production of Wagner’s Ring he sang Fasolt (Das Rheingold).
Franz Mayer ist seit 1977 Ensemblemitglied und seit 1993 Kammersänger der Oper Frankfurt. Der aus Österreich stammende Bassbariton sang hier in jüngerer Zeit u.a. die Partien Benoît (La Bohème), Der Einäugige (Die Frau ohne Schatten), Montano (Otello), Ein Lakai (Ariadne auf Naxos), Fürst Leopold Maria (Die Csárdásfürstin) und Der Ratsälteste (Königskinder, CD bei OehmsClassics). Er war hier zuvor u.a. zu erleben als Messner (Tosca), Mozarts Figaro, Leporello / Masetto (Don Giovanni), Papageno und Don Alfonso (Così fan tutte), Wagners Fritz Kothner / Nachtwächter (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) und Angelo (Das Liebesverbot; CD bei Sprecher (Die Zauberflöte), Erzbischof von Prag (Palestrina, CD bei OehmsClassics) und Unto (Sallinens Kullervo). Franz Mayers besondere Liebe zum Konzertfach führte ihn mit Werken von Bach, Händel, Mahler, Mozart und Mendelssohn nach Wien, Hamburg, Stuttgart und München sowie Südamerika und Japan.
Soprano Narea Son, 24, was born in Seoul, South Korea. She received her Bachelor's in Voice from Seoul National University.
She sang Mimi in "La Bohème" in 2012, Donna Elvira in "Don Giovanni" in the 2013 Seoul University Opera and Le feu, La Princesse and Le rossignol in "L'Enfant et les Sortilèges" in 2014 at Hamburg University.
She is currently pursuing her Master's in Opera at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre with Professor Gundula Schneider. She has taken part in Master classes with Edda Moser, Cheryl Studer, Bruna Baglioni and Mariella Devia.
Narea is a winner of several voice competitions. She was a finalist at the International de chant de Toulouse competition in 2014, first place in both the "Elise Meyer competition" in 2014 and "Maritim Music Competition" in 2013, Hamburg, and she received a special price in the "F.P Tosti international Competition in Asia" 2010 Japan.
Foto: © Kartal Karagedik
Chor der Hamburgischen Staatsoper
The chorus members appear on stage at the Hamburg State Opera in a different role almost every night. From one day to the next, they might be sailors, gypsies, pilgrims or conspirators, then courtiers, hunters, the deranged or the imprisoned. In the role of crusaders in I Lombardi alla prima Crociata they travel to Jerusalem, other nights they are invited to Madama Butterfly's marriage or acclaim Prince Igor. The ladies and gentlemen of the opera chorus demonstrate their artistic prowess, their flexibility, and their love of the stage in every performance.
With a membership around 70, the chorus of the Hamburg State Opera has been one of the world’s best opera choruses for many years. The varied repertoire – almost always in the original language – is multifaceted and includes baroque operas and dramatic operas, major works by Verdi and Wagner as well as contemporary pieces. At the start of the 2013/14 season, Eberhard Friedrich took over the post of Chorus Master.
Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg
The Philharmonic State Orchestra is Hamburg’s largest and oldest orchestra, looking back on many years of musical history. When the “Philharmonic Orchestra” and the “Orchestra of the Hamburg Municipal Theatre” merged in 1934, two tradition-steeped orchestras combined. Philharmonic concerts have been performed in Hamburg since 1828, artists such as Clara Schumann, Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms being regular guests of the Philharmonic Society. The history of the opera company goes back even further: Hamburg has been home to musical theatre since 1678, even if a regular opera or theatre orchestra was only formed later. To this day, the Philharmonic State Orchestra has embodied the sound of the Hansa City, a concert and opera orchestra in one.
During its long history, the orchestra encountered great artist personalities. Apart from composers of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, such as Georg Philipp Telemann, Piotr I. Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Sergey Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky, since the 20th century chief conductors such as Karl Muck, Eugen Jochum, Joseph Keilberth, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Horst Stein, Gerd Albrecht, Ingo Metzmacher and Simone Young have shaped the orchestra’s sound. Renowned conductors of the pre-war era such as Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Karl Böhm and Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt gave brilliant performances, as did outstanding conductors of our times: suffice it to mention Sir Neville Marriner, Christian Thielemann, Semyon Bychkov, Kirill Petrenko, Valery Gergiev and Sir Roger Norrington.
Starting with the 2015/2016 season, Kent Nagano has taken on the position of Hamburg’s General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic State Orchestra and the Hamburg State Opera. In his first season Kent Nagano initiated a new project, the Philharmonic Academy at St. Michaelis, focusing on experimentation and chamber music. In 2016 Nagano and the Philharmonic undertook a successful three-week concert tour in South America. Since 2017 Kent Nagano and the Philharmonic State Orchestra have continued the traditional Philharmonic Concerts at the new Elbphilharmonie, for which they commissioned Jörg Widmann to compose the oratorio ARCHE, which was given its world premiere during the hall’s opening festivities.
The Philharmonic State Orchestra offers approximately 35 concerts per season and performs more than 240 performances per year at the Hamburg State Opera and the Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier, making it Hamburg’s busiest orchestra. The stylistic bandwidth covered by the 134 musicians, ranging from historically informed performance practice to contemporary works and including concert, opera and ballet repertoire, is unique throughout Germany. Chamber Music has a long tradition at the Philharmonic State Orchestra: what began in 1929 with a concert series for chamber orchestra has been continued since 1968 by a series of chamber music only, which celebrates its 50-year anniversary in 2017/18.
In 2008 Simone Young and the Philharmonic State Orchestra won the Brahms Award of the Schleswig-Holstein Brahms Society. In 2012 Simone Young received a Helpmann Award for performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Wagner’s Rheingold with the Philharmonic in Brisbane, Australia. The orchestra has recorded the complete Ring by Wagner as well as the complete symphonies of Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner – the latter in the rarely-performed original versions – as well as works by Mahler, Hindemith and Berg, and has released DVDs of opera and ballet productions by Hosokawa, Offenbach, Reimann, Auerbach, J.S. Bach, Puccini, Poulenc and Weber.
The members of the Philharmonic State Orchestra feel equally beholden to the Hansa City’s musical tradition and responsible for the city’s artistic future. Since 1978 the musicians have been participating in education programmes in Hamburg’s schools. To this day, the TV format Musikkontakte initiated by Gerd Albrecht during his tenure as General Music Director is unforgotten. Today, the orchestra maintains a broad education programme, including school and kindergarten visits, patronage for music projects, introductory events for children and family concerts. The orchestra’s own academy prepares young musicians for their professional careers. The Philharmonic’s musicians thereby make an equally enjoyable and valuable contribution to tomorrow’s music education in the music metropolis of Hamburg.
Foto: © Foto: Monika Rittershaus