MusicWeb International's Worldwide Concert and Opera Reviews

 Clicking Google advertisements helps keep MusicWeb subscription-free.

Other Links

Editorial Board

  • Editor - Bill Kenny
  • London Editor-Melanie Eskenazi
  • Founder - Len Mullenger

Google Site Search


Internet MusicWeb



Dresden Semperoper: Mrs. Dr. Ulrike Hessler will be the next General Director of the famous Semper Opera Dresden,  18.9.2008 (JFL)

For the first time in its 169 year history, the Saxon State Opera – home to world premiere performances of most Richard Strauss and several Wagner operas – has appointed a woman as its General Director. Today Saxony's Secretary of Science & Arts, Dr. Eva-Maria Stange, announced the decision that Mrs. Hessler will lead the house starting 2010, succeeding current intendant Gerd Uecker.

Ulrike Hessler (52) has been working at the Bavarian State Opera since 1984, working her way up from assistant to the press spokesperson's to director for public relations and program development. When the Bavarian State Opera was without a GM during the 2006/07 and 2007/08 seasons, she formed an interim directorship with Music Director Kent Nagano, running the day to day affairs of the opera house.

According to the Saxon Ministry of Science & Arts, the factor deciding in favor of Ulrike Hessler was "the way how Mrs. Hessler thinks about the future of an opera house like this and how a very active repertoire- and ensemble theater with such a long tradition will successfully face the tough international competition." Another important factor was the vision with which Mrs. Hessler has developed ideas for sharpening the company's profile and the importance she places on better communications of the house both internally and externally. Not the least her extensive leadership experience at the Bavarian State Opera and her range of contacts to singers, directors, dancers, and musicians have played a role.

The former Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, English National Opera, and Bavarian State Opera, Sir Peter Jonas, was among the advisers to the ministry in this decision. The famous tenor and conductor Peter Schreier welcomed the decision, describing his impressions of Mrs. Hessler as an “incredibly creative and decisive” collaborator.

Before working in the world of opera, Mrs. Hessler, who wrote her Ph.D. thesis about
Bernard von Brentano’s literature of exile, worked as a free lance journalists for Bavarian Radio and a has written for Harper’s and Vogue. She is a frequent guest lecturer at Universities abroad and has been an Overseas Member of the Board of Governors of the Tel Aviv University since 1990.

Jens F. Laurson

This article also appears on the Musical America web site.

Back to Top                                                    Cumulative Index Page