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World-renowned Dresden orchestra to perform in Kanto

by Chiho Iuchi

Among the classical-music highlights of this spring will be performances by the Staatskapelle Dresden orchestra, returning to Japan for the first time since 2007.

Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, which celebrated its 460th anniversary in 2008, is one of the oldest orchestras in the world. Based in Dresden, it has throughout that time accompanied most operas performed at the Semperoper, the opera house of the Saxon State Opera Dresden.

During its history, a number of maestros, including Carl Maria von Weber, Richard Wagner, Karl Bohm, Herbert von Karajan, Carlos Kleiber and Giuseppe Sinopoli have appeared on its podium, attracting fans worldwide to its famed understated but powerful sound — and especially its string section’s fine performances.

In 2007, the Italian Fabio Luisi (b. 1959) became chief conductor after building his international career with orchestras such as the Graz Symphony Orchestra in Austria, L’Orhcestre de la Suisse Romande and the Vienna Symphony.

The upcoming Japan tour mainly features works by Richard Strauss (1864-1949), the German musician who had a close relationship with the orchestra for more than 60 years, both as a composer and conductor. Nine of his operas, including “Salome” and “Der Rosenkavalier” premiered in Dresden.

The program includes his tone poems, “Also sprach Zarathustra,” “Don Juan,” “Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks” and “Ein Heldenleben,” as well as “An Alpine Symphony,” which was originally dedicated to the orchestra.

Staatskapelle Dresden will perform in Kanto at Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall on April 25 (3 p.m.), and at Suntory Hall on April 29 (2 p.m.) and May 1 (7 p.m.). Ticket prices range from ¥8,000 to ¥29,000. Call Japan Arts Pia (03) 5237-7711 or visit www.japanarts.co.jp/