Praised by Beethoven as "the best in Europe", Staatskapelle Dresden will give two concerts in Hong Kong in May, which must not be missed by music lovers.
Staatskapelle Dresden celebrated its 460th jubilee in 2008. Founded in 1548 by Prince Elector Moritz von Sachsen, it is one of the oldest orchestras in the world and steeped in tradition. The Staatskapelle has been a leading ensemble throughout various musical eras, and is in fact unique in having been in continuous existence for over four and a half centuries.
"One hears from all sides that the Hofkapelle in Dresden is the best in Europe," Ludwig van Beethoven noted in 1823.
The orchestra has associated with some great names of the music world. Richard Strauss had close links to the orchestra for over 60 years. Nine of his operas were premiered in Dresden (including "Salome", "Elektra" and "Der Rosenkavalier") and he dedicated his "Alpine Symphony" to the Staatskapelle. In fact the ensemble retains its international reputation as a "Strauss Orchestra" up to the present day.
"From the wealth of glorious memories accumulated over my artistic career, the sound of this peerless orchestra always stirs a new feelings of tender gratitude and admiration," said Richard Strauss on the orchestra's 400th anniversary in 1948.
Other classical collaborations were with directors Heinrich Schütz, Johann Adolf Hasse, Carl Maria von Weber and Richard Wagner; and prominent conductors Ernst von Schuch, Fritz Reiner, Fritz Busch, Karl Böhm, Joseph Keilberth, Rudolf Kempe, Otmar Suitner, Kurt Sanderling, Herbert Blomstedt, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Bernard Haitink and Sir Colin Davis.
Fabio Luisi assumed the position of Music Director of the Staatskapelle Dresden from the 2007/2008 season, thereby also becoming Principal Conductor of the orchestra. After his appointment in September 2007 he undertook an extremely successful European tour with the orchestra. Fabio Luisi and the Staatskapelle Dresden are recording a series of all the orchestral works of Richard Strauss. The first recording of the series has been well acclaimed.
Also performing at the concerts will be world-renowned pianist Emanuel Ax, winner of the Avery Fisher Prize and a Grammy Award. Under the baton of Luisi, the Staatskapelle Dresden and Ax will bring to Hong Kong patrons Beethoven's "Piano Concerto No. 3". Other delightful programmes will be Richard Strauss' "Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche", "Burleske in D Minor for Piano and Orchestra" and "Also sprach Zarathustra", as well as Brahms' "Symphony No. 4".
Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, concerts by the Staatskapelle Dresden will be at 8pm on May 3 and 4 (Sunday and Monday) at the Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets priced at $1,050, $880, $680, $460 and $250 will be available from March 6 (Friday) at all URBTIX outlets. Half-price concessions will be granted to senior citizens, people with disabilities, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. (Limited tickets for Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients are available on a first-come, first-served basis.) Please refer to programme leaflets for details of group booking discounts.
For programme enquiries, call 2268 7321; for ticketing enquiries and reservations call 2734 9009. For credit card telephone bookings, call 2111 5999. Internet bookings are available at www.urbtix.hk. Visit www.lcsd.gov.hk/cp for more information on the programme.
Ends/Monday, March 2, 2009