With this Gala Concert from the Semperoper in Dresden, Christian Thielemann gives eloquent testimony to an early love of his, the operetta. Since the beginning of his conducting career he has had a fascination for this genre. Time and again he has drawn parallels between the heavyweight Wagner and lighter works, his principal aim being to demonstrate the skills he acquired while conducting operettas: “Anyone who can handle The Merry Widow,” he says, “will have no problems with Lohengrin.” For this gala he turned his attention to Lehár's contempory Emmerich Kálmán. He found two enthusiastic partners in Ingeborg Schöpf, the leading soprano from the Dresden State Operetta company, and internationally acclaimed tenor Piotr Beczala, and was frenetically applauded by the audience. They are joined by the Dresden State Opera Chorus and the Dresden Opera Ballet dancing in the beautiful interiors of the Semperoper.
The Hungarian Emmerich Kálmán is widely seen as a leading figure in the silver age of operetta. His music combines the “gypsy” idiom that was then believed to be typically Hungarian with the strains of the Viennese waltz. The concert features famous melodies from Die Csárdásfürstin (1915), Gräfin Mariza (1924) and Die Zirkusprinzessin (1926) as well as arias from less known and seldom performed works. One of the composer's early successes, Der Zigeunerprimas (1913), celebrates even celebrates his 100th anniversary in Dresden: it was performed in the city's Residenztheater exactly a century ago/in 1913 and was conducted by Kálmán himself.
The gala also features “Ob blond, ob braun, ich liebe alle Frau'n” from Robert Stolz's hit film Ich liebe alle Frau'n. The concert finishes in the tradition of the New Year's Eve Concerts with Johann Strauss's very last waltz An der Elbe.