The unknown Johann Strauss – The German Jacques Offenbach
In 2003/2004, the new artistic leadership of the Dresden State Operetta, Wolfgang Schaller (Impresario) and Ernst Theis (Lead Conductor), started developing the concept for the promotion of works by Johann Strauss. From the start, the goal of the project has also been to expose lesser-known works that, although artistically valuable, have been almost forgotten in the usual performance repertoire. This idea has set the course for Ernst Theis’ career for many years. He is constantly on the look-out for works of any genre that don’t appear on the usual concert program, but that are artistically engaging and that deserve to be rediscovered. His characteristic drive for rediscovery extends beyond the realms of classical and romantic music to that of the 20th century and his intensive work with contemporary compositions.
This concept lead to the creation of the Unknown Johann Strauss project, which commenced with the staged production of the operetta Carnival in Rome
in October, 2004. This production prompted the first collaboration with Central German Broadcasting (MDR) and Deutschland Radio.
The resulting live recording of Carnival in Rome
was then broadcast on both stations. This remarkable crowd-pleaser, which ended up being performed over 50 times in Dresden and toured all over Germany, encouraged Ernst Theis to set his sights on a staged production of The Queen's Lace Handkerchief
. After the release of the complete recordings on CD in January 2010, the Badische Zeitung wrote, “CPO’s recording of this work was based on Dresden State Operetta’s production, which has received the highest praise for its musical interpretation.”
Immediately after preparing for the complete recording of The Queen’s Lace Handkerchief
the stage production of Carnival in Rome
began and premiered in February 2011. The next successful staging of an unknown Operetta by Johann Strauss was Prince Methusalem
, of which a recording was also released in 2011.
The Unknown Johann Strauss
is based on the new critical edition of Johann Strauss Edition Vienna
and lead to the launch of an annual Johann Straus Festival in Dresden in April of 2011.
An additional project with CPO emerged from The Unknown Johann Strauss
series. It showcases the first recordings of works by the Father of Operetta, Jacques Offenbach, which were produced in Vienna and Berlin during his lifetime.
The German Jacques Offenbach
The complete recording of La Périchole
in 2009 and its expected release in 2012/12 is the first German language recording of the work in the world.
As a part of the German Jacques Offenbach series and the following Johann Strauss Festival, the Opéra-bouffe La Grand-Douchesse de Gérolstein
was staged at the State Operetta Dresden In early 2011.
Together with Erst Theis, the Chief Dramaturge at the Leipzig Opera, Bettian Bartz, created a new German translation of the work especially for this project. Bartz saw to it that the new libretto captured the esprit of the offenbachian music from the musical point of view. Ernst Theis also performed as guest conductor with this work at the Cologne Philharmonic in January of 2012 with the well-known French-German comedian ALFONS as the evening’s host.
With the production of La Vie Parisienne
in April of 2012, Ernst Theis concluded his Offenbach Trilogy within the German Offenbach project at the Dresden State Operetta. All three works in the German Jacques Offenbach were prepared using the critical edition of Keck – Boosey & Hawkes Publishers.
Ernst Theis at the Philharmonic Hall Cologne
Alfons, congenial partner of Ernst Theis at the Philharmonic Hall Cologne