Ballet by John Neumeier | The Song of the Earth
Simon Hewett is the Principal Conductor of the Stuttgart Opera, and Principal Conductor of the Hamburg Ballet. In addition to his commitments with these two companies, he has performed regularly in recent seasons with Opera Australia in Sydney and Melbourne, the Komische Oper in Berlin, and the Paris Opera Ballet. His performances are frequently praised for their stylistic fluency, emotional intensity and technical precision.
Simon Hewett studied clarinet and conducting at the University of Queensland, graduating with First Class Honours and a University Medal. At 19 he was the youngest ever finalist in the ABC Young Conductor of the Year Award, and conducted the West Australian Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Hindemith's "Symphonische Metamorphosen". In 1998 he was awarded a German Government Scholarship and studied operatic and symphonic conducting for 3 years at the Franz Liszt Hochschule für Musik in Weimar, Germany.
From 2002-03 Simon Hewett was a member of Opera Australia's Young Artists' Programme, and made his debut at the Sydney Opera house in October 2003, conducting Bizet's "Les Pêcheurs du perles". He was immediately reengaged for performances of "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" in 2004. He has since returned regularly to Opera Australia as a guest conductor, for "Tosca" (2005), "Turandot" (2006), and to lead the revival of Harry Kupfer's critically acclaimed production of "Otello" (2008). He returned to Sydney in 2009 for "Aida" and a new production of "Così fan tutte" with director Jim Sharman. In 2011 he conducted "Macbeth" for Opera Australia and "Falstaff" for the West Australian Opera. In 2012 he led critically acclaimed new productions of "Le Nozze di Figaro" and "Salome" for Opera Australia.
In 2005 Simone Young invited Simon Hewett to join the Hamburg State Opera as Resident Conductor and Assistant Music Director. Since his debut with "La Traviata" in 2005, he has conducted over 200 performances in Hamburg of a large repertoire of opera and ballet. In 2008 he debuted at the Komische Oper with "Il Barbiere di Siviglia", returning in 2010 for "Die Entführung aus dem Serail".
Following successful performances of "Der Fliegende Holländer" for the Stuttgart Opera in 2010, Simon Hewett was invited to become Principal Conductor. In 2012/13 he led revivals of "Die Fledermaus" and "Tosca". He has since conducted new productions of "La Bohème" and "Khovanshchina", and a wide range of other repertoire in Stuttgart including "Die Fledermaus", "Nabucco", "Tosca", "Madama Butterfly", "Eugene Onegin" and "Der Freischütz".
As a symphonic conductor Simon Hewett has appeared with the Melbourne Symphony, Sydney Symphony and West Australian Symphony Orchestras. His interest in contemporary music is documented through his long relationship with the Elision Contemporary Music Ensemble, with whom he has performed frequently since 1996, touring with them to Korea in 1997 and Europe in 1998. He has performed with Elision at all of Australia's major festivals, conducting the world premieres of Richard Barrett's "Opening of the Mouth", and Liza Lim's opera "Moon Spirit Feasting". His CD of Richard Barrett's "Opening of the Mouth" with the Elision Ensemble was reviewed by the BBC Music Magazine upon its release as "Pick of the Month".
Since conducting the premiere of John Neumeier's "Parzival" at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden in 2006, Simon Hewett has enjoyed a close and productive collaboration with the Hamburg Ballet. He has toured with the Hamburg Ballet to the Salzburg Festival, Australia, the United States of America and Japan. His performances of John Neumeier's production of Mahler's 3rd Symphony at the Paris Opera were broadcast in cinemas worldwide and recorded for DVD release. He led the world premiere of John Neumeier's ballet "Tatiana" (2014), also recorded for DVD release, and the premiere of a new ballet based on the life of the celebrated Italian actress Eleonora Duse (2015). In December 2016 he will lead the German Premiere of "The Song of the Earth", a ballet by John Neumeier to music by Gustav Mahler.
German tenor Maximilian Schmitt discovered his passion for music at a very early age, as a member of the Regensburg Cathedral Choir. He continued his studies with Professor Anke Eggers at Berlin's University of the Arts and Roland Hermann. In 2005 and 2006, he was a member of the young ensemble at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich.
Maximilian gained his first stage experience as a member of Munich's Opera Studios, before joining the ensemble at Mannheim's National Theatre for four years. While there, he starred as David in "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg" and Lensky in "Eugene Onegin", and in various Mozart roles such as Tamino, Don Ottavio, Belmonte and Ferrando, before closing his time in Mannheim with the title role from Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito" in 2012. The same year, he made his debut as Tamino at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam in Simon McBurney's celebrated production under the baton of Marc Albrecht. In René Jacobs' production of Mozart's "The Abduction from the Seraglio" with Berlin's Academy for Ancient Music, he can be heard as Belmonte ("harmonia mundi", France). In 2016, Maximilian Schmitt made his debut in Mozart's "Idomeneo", at the Opéra National du Rhin in Strasbourg, followed by his debut at the Vienna State Opera as Don Ottavio and his debut at La Scala in Milan, this time as Pedrillo in Mozart's "The Abduction from the Seraglio" under Zubin Mehta.
In addition to his passion for opera, Maximilian Schmitt is also sought-after concert singer. His widely-ranged repertoire stretches from Mozart and Monteverdi to Mendelssohn, Mahler and Britten. He has worked with conductors such as Franz Welser-Möst, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Harding, Thomas Hengelbrock, Fabio Luisi, Andres Orozco-Estrada, Trevor Pinnock, René Jacobs and Robin Ticciati. Also, a close partnership with Philippe Herreweghe allows Maximilian Schmitt to consistently display his wide concert repertoire. Maximilian Schmitt has worked with orchestras such as Berlin's Academy for Ancient Music, Zurich's Tonhalle Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra and Leipzig's Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of Bayerischer Rundfunk, the Vienna Symphony, BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Maximilian Schmitt is a regular guest at the Orchestre de Paris, Ensemble orchestral de Paris and Orchestre National de France and Festivals such as Lucerne Festival or Schubertiade Schwarzenberg/Hohenems.
Maximilian Schmitt kicks off the 2017/18 season with a concert tour of Mozart's "La Clemenza di Tito" under the baton of Teodor Currentzis with performances in Paris, Geneva and Wroclaw and continues with concerts at Tonhalle Zurich and Beethoven 9 under Lionel Bringuier. Later in the season, he is touring Europe again, this time with Beethoven's "Leonore" and the Freiburger Barockorchester under the musical direction of René Jacobs before he can be heard in concerts with Philippe Herreweghe and the Orchestre des Champs Elysées in Poitiers, Cologne, Ghent, Vienna, Luxembourg, Essen and Eindhoven. Maximilian Schmitt continues with Beethoven's 9th Symphony and Beethoven's c-minor Mass under Krzysztof Urbanski and Mariss Jansons in Munich. Furthermore, he will perform Hadyn's "Seasons" in Cleveland and prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York together with Franz Welser- Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra. He also stars in Bach's St. John's Passion in Dresden and at Salzburg's Easter Festival. Another concert tour with Collegium Vocale takes him to Metz, Frankfurt, Katowice, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Cologne, Innsbruck and Zurich. He concludes the season in Tokyo in the role of Gerontius in Elgar's oratorio "Dream of Gerontius" with Jonathan Nott and the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.
Well known as a Lied singer, Maximilian Schmitt has already performed at Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, the Heidelberger Frühling, Cologne's Philharmonie and Tonhalle Düsseldorf together with his accompanist Gerold Huber. Ever since his debut at London's Wigmore Hall, Maximilian Schmitt has been regularly invited back. In the 2017/18 season he again can be heard with a Lied programme at the prestigious concert hall in London.
photo: Christian Kargl
In September 2005 Christoph Pohl became member of the Semperoper Dresden, where he regularely appears in major baritone roles a.o. as Wolfram/"Tannhauser," Marcello/"La Boheme", Dandini/"La Cenerentola, Papageno/"Die Zauberflöte", Count Almaviva/"Le Nozze di Figaro", Guglielmo/"Cosi fan tutte", Olivier/"Capriccio", Harlequin/"Ariadne auf Naxos", Ottokar/"Der Freischütz", Danilo/"Die lustige Witwe", Dr. Falke/"Die Fledermaus" and Valentin/"Faust."
His season 2011/12 at the Semperoper featured his successful role debuts as Figaro/"Il Barbiere di Sevillia", Belcore/"L'elisir d'amore" as well as Graf/"Capriccio". Most recently, he had a great success with audience and critics as Svanda in the new production of Weinberger’s "Svanda dudak" in March 2012.
In Dresden’s season 2012/13 he sang for the first time and very successfully Posa/"Don Carlo" as well as Heerrufer/"Lohengrin" and Lescaut in a new production of "Manon Lescaut", both under Christian Thielemann.
In addition to his obligations in Dresden Christoph Pohl appeared in guest performances as Wolfram at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, as Ottokar at the Staatsoper Stuttgart, as Papageno at the Oper Leizpig, Marcello and Wolfram at the Theater Erfurt, and several times at the Bayerische Staatsoper München, among others in the new production of Eötvös' "The tragedy of the devil".
Future plans include Graf/”Capriccio” in Lyon, Wolfram under Donald Runnciles in London (BBC Proms) and his debut in Paris Bastille with Harlekin/”Ariadne auf Naxos”.
After his first vocal experiences in Hannover’s Boys Choir Christoph Pohl was a member of the renowned a cappella vocal group "Modell Andante" for eight years. He then studied opera singing at the Academy of Music and Theatre in Hannover with Prof. Carol Richardson-Smith, and was in the song class of Justus Zeyen.
From 2003 until 2005, Christoph Pohl was a member of the Opera Studio at the Hamburg State Opera where he performed in several productions, including his debut as Papageno.
Christoph Pohl has won several national and international competitions, a.o. the International Schumann Song competition 2008. In 2008, he was awarded with the Christel Goltz-Prize by the Semper Opera House Foundation.
His recital and concert career lead him to Europe, Japan and the United States. In October 2011 his first CD has been released with songs by Mahler, Liszt, Pizetti and Rihm.
Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg
The Philharmonic State Orchestra is Hamburg’s largest and oldest orchestra, looking back on many years of musical history. When the “Philharmonic Orchestra” and the “Orchestra of the Hamburg Municipal Theatre” merged in 1934, two tradition-steeped orchestras combined. Philharmonic concerts have been performed in Hamburg since 1828, artists such as Clara Schumann, Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms being regular guests of the Philharmonic Society. The history of the opera company goes back even further: Hamburg has been home to musical theatre since 1678, even if a regular opera or theatre orchestra was only formed later. To this day, the Philharmonic State Orchestra has embodied the sound of the Hansa City, a concert and opera orchestra in one.
During its long history, the orchestra encountered great artist personalities. Apart from composers of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, such as Georg Philipp Telemann, Piotr I. Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Sergey Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky, since the 20th century chief conductors such as Karl Muck, Eugen Jochum, Joseph Keilberth, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Horst Stein, Gerd Albrecht, Ingo Metzmacher and Simone Young have shaped the orchestra’s sound. Renowned conductors of the pre-war era such as Otto Klemperer, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Bruno Walter, Karl Böhm and Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt gave brilliant performances, as did outstanding conductors of our times: suffice it to mention Sir Neville Marriner, Christian Thielemann, Semyon Bychkov, Kirill Petrenko, Valery Gergiev and Sir Roger Norrington.
Starting with the 2015/2016 season, Kent Nagano has taken on the position of Hamburg’s General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Philharmonic State Orchestra and the Hamburg State Opera. In his first season Kent Nagano initiated a new project, the Philharmonic Academy at St. Michaelis, focusing on experimentation and chamber music. In 2016 Nagano and the Philharmonic undertook a successful three-week concert tour in South America. Since 2017 Kent Nagano and the Philharmonic State Orchestra have continued the traditional Philharmonic Concerts at the new Elbphilharmonie, for which they commissioned Jörg Widmann to compose the oratorio ARCHE, which was given its world premiere during the hall’s opening festivities.
The Philharmonic State Orchestra offers approximately 35 concerts per season and performs more than 240 performances per year at the Hamburg State Opera and the Hamburg Ballet – John Neumeier, making it Hamburg’s busiest orchestra. The stylistic bandwidth covered by the 134 musicians, ranging from historically informed performance practice to contemporary works and including concert, opera and ballet repertoire, is unique throughout Germany. Chamber Music has a long tradition at the Philharmonic State Orchestra: what began in 1929 with a concert series for chamber orchestra has been continued since 1968 by a series of chamber music only, which celebrates its 50-year anniversary in 2017/18.
In 2008 Simone Young and the Philharmonic State Orchestra won the Brahms Award of the Schleswig-Holstein Brahms Society. In 2012 Simone Young received a Helpmann Award for performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 and Wagner’s Rheingold with the Philharmonic in Brisbane, Australia. The orchestra has recorded the complete Ring by Wagner as well as the complete symphonies of Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner – the latter in the rarely-performed original versions – as well as works by Mahler, Hindemith and Berg, and has released DVDs of opera and ballet productions by Hosokawa, Offenbach, Reimann, Auerbach, J.S. Bach, Puccini, Poulenc and Weber.
The members of the Philharmonic State Orchestra feel equally beholden to the Hansa City’s musical tradition and responsible for the city’s artistic future. Since 1978 the musicians have been participating in education programmes in Hamburg’s schools. To this day, the TV format Musikkontakte initiated by Gerd Albrecht during his tenure as General Music Director is unforgotten. Today, the orchestra maintains a broad education programme, including school and kindergarten visits, patronage for music projects, introductory events for children and family concerts. The orchestra’s own academy prepares young musicians for their professional careers. The Philharmonic’s musicians thereby make an equally enjoyable and valuable contribution to tomorrow’s music education in the music metropolis of Hamburg.
photo: Foto: Felix Broede