Presenting social realities on stage is the trademark of the director Volker Lösch, whose theatrical productions featuring performances from amateur choirs have become a brand-new and unique form of political theatre.
In 2013, the year celebrating Verdi’s 200th birthday, Magdeburg Theatre was able to successfully commission the director to perform his operatic debut at its Opera House and in the 2013/2014 season, Volker Lösch is therefore presenting Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Macbeth” in Magdeburg. The performers playing the roles of the witches in Volker Lösch’s production include a number of women from Magdeburg who form a speaking choir as they talk about their lives and about power and helplessness in society. A performance of this kind has never been seen before in the world of opera and is an experiment with an unpredictable outcome.
Magdeburg Theatre’s General Manager Karen Stone opened the new season with her production of Mozart's classic opera “The Marriage of Figaro”, directed by Michael Balke, on 14th September 2013. In January 2012, Olivia Fuchs received high praise for her first production in Germany in the form of the opera “Madame Butterfly”. This season, she has returned to Magdeburg to perform Richard Strauss’ opera “The Knight of the Rose” together with the Opera House’s Musical Director Kimbo Ishii-Eto. This production will premiere on 22nd February.
The Opera House programme also features the opera “Otto”, which was written by George Frideric Handel and revised by Georg Philipp Telemann and is being performed in cooperation with the 22nd Magdeburg Telemann Festival. The production is directed by Arila Siegert and features performances by the French Baroque ensemble “Le Concert Lorrain” led by its Artistic Director Stephan Schultz. The premiere of “Otto” will be performed on 15th March 2014.
The 2013/2014 season is also finally welcoming back a genre that has been long desired by a large number of theatregoers by offering not one, but two operetta productions. The first of these performances, “The Beggar Student” by Carl Millöcker, is a classic operetta from the early Viennese Operetta period and is being directed by Nico Rabenald on his return to Magdeburg. The production will premiere on 3rd May 2014.
The second operetta on offer is Eduard Künneke's “The Cousin from Nowhere”, a cheeky and bold production by the young director Therese Schmidt that premiered on 16th November 2013.
The new season is also taking a very classical approach when it comes to its ballet performances. With “La Sylphide”, the Ballet Director Gonzalo Galguera has choreographed the ballet that was responsible for the major breakthrough of pointe technique on stage in the mid 19th century. The production premiered on 5th October 2013.
Another ballet highlight in the new season is both a challenge and a huge attraction for every ballet company and, indeed, every orchestra: Igor Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps”. The premiere of this second ballet in the Ballet Director’s choreography programme will take place on 12th April 2014 and feature music under the direction of Michael Balke.
On top of all this, the Opera House is also presenting the fourth of its “Dance Encounters” ballet evenings, which have proven extremely popular. This season’s event will provide its audience with an insight into the choreographic creations of Sasha Evtimova and Fredy Franzutti. Another dance event, the Magdeburg Dance Festival, will take place over Pentecost in 2014.
The concert season presented by Magdeburg Philharmonic Orchestra contains a special treat for all friends of the romantic German repertoire as the orchestra’s Musical Director Kimbo Ishii-Eto directs a large collection of works by Brahms including all four symphonies and a double concert featuring violin, violoncello and orchestra performances.
The season also sees Menahem Pressler, a huge fan of the Magdeburg orchestra, return to his home city yet again to perform as a soloist, as well as featuring a number of highlights such as the German pianist Daniel Röhm and the Italian pianist Emanuele Arciuli, the 1st Concertmaster Daishin Kashimoto and the timpanist Wieland Welzel from the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra, the violinist Michael Barenboim and the Swiss oboist Thomas Indermühle. Alongside the Magdeburg bandmasters Michael Balke and Pawel Poplawski, this season’s concerts will also feature performances conducted by the young Japanese conductor Ryusuke Numajiri, as well as the Estonian conductor Kirstiina Poska, who has already been involved in concerts in Magdeburg on a number of occasions, and the orchestra’s former Musical Director Christian Ehwald.