Photo: Marco Blüthgen, Dresden Elbland
Where the legend of Wagner was born
Rich: Saxony’s musical history
Richard Wagner, Heinrich Schütz and Carl Maria von Weber: just three of the great composers for whom Dresden proved a springboard to fame and fortune. Another cherished city treasure: its 800-year-old world-famous Kreuzchor choir. Moreover, Dresden boasts three first-class orchestras: the Dresden State Orchestra (Staatskapelle Dresden), the Dresden Philharmonic and the Elbland Philharmonic Sachsen. Performing venues and ensembles include the unique Dresden State Operetta and Dresden-Hellerau, revolutionising dance as the 20th century dawned and where a wealth of world-class ballet plays out to this day. Rounding this off are exceptional festivals and a renovated Kulturpalast; now reincarnated as a top-class concert hall. Centuries of Dresden culture have unfolded with music at its very heart.
The groundbreaker: Richard Wagner
There is a special relationship that links Richard Wagner to Dresden Elbland. This is where he spent his childhood and youth, first attending the Kreuzschule school and later being appointed Royal Saxon Court Kapellmeister and conductor of the renowned Liedertafel. It is also here that many of his formative works and a number of acclaimed world premieres came into being, including his first major opera Rienzi, The Flying Dutchman and Tannhäuser. Clearly, lively and inspirational surroundings, but a town the citizen Wagner was forced to leave behind after joining the May Uprising of 1849.
Romantic: Carl Maria von Weber
Many historical Dresden landmarks hark back to the father of romantic German opera, Carl Maria von Weber, who spent a productive decade there and hauled its baroque musical traditions into the 19th century. Weber turned Dresden into the most prominent opera metropolis of the Romantic era; first as musical director and shortly afterwards as Kapellmeister at the Dresden Court Theatre. His masterpiece Der Freischütz was composed in Dresden and he would do whatever it took to stage premieres of mainly German and French operatic works there. The vintner’s house, a fount of inspiration for Weber, now pays homage to his legacy as a museum.
Melodious: The Dresden Kreuzchor
Everything about the Dresden Kreuzchor choir hits the right notes: in continuous existence for over 800 years, it has made a formative contribution to the life of Dresden and is a key part of the city’s cultural heritage. Moreover, as well as winning global acclaim, the choir has also proved a key ambassador for the Saxony region with Dresden at its heart. In more than 300 performances each year, around 150 Crucian choirboys aged nine to 18 demonstrate the sonority, passion and stand-out class which have made them a household name. Their motto says it all: “Invited all over the world. At home in Dresden.” Spiritual or secular music? Embark on a listening adventure with the Dresden Kreuzchor choir.