Leipzig opera falls way behind Dresden

Leipzig opera falls way behind Dresden


norman lebrecht

July 15, 2015

It’s hotting up in Saxony.

After the Semper Oper of Dresden turned in seasonal attendance figures of 91 percent, Leipzig Opera has responded today with returns of just 70 percent – and only 62% for opera itself. Ballet and concerts performed slightly better.

Leipzig Opera’s music director is Ulf Schirmer; the director of opera is Franziska Severin.

We hear the unmistakable rustle of socks being pulled up.


leipzig oper


  • Hilary says:

    But let’s not overlook a key factor here. Dresden has an appeal to tourists (of a cultural type) which Leipzig cannot match. There’s something for all tastes: the Baroque Alstadt, and the typical communist style of Prager Street as one alights the train. It’s a brutal contrast but it works.

    • Olassus says:

      Obviously you haven’t been to Leipzig lately.

      Separately, it should be noted that the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is the pit ensemble for the opera company. The hall and the theater face each other.

      • Simon S. says:

        This is not so much about the actual cultural attractivity of a city but rather of its fame.

        And Dresden has always had a reputation of being a cultural landmark. Leipzig has never been able to compete with this.

        So, selling a 3 days Dresden all inclusive package with one night at Semperoper is a safe bet for any travel agent (even more so as accomodation, dining etc. are considerably cheaper in Dresden than in Berlin or Munich). And its preciesely this what gives Semperoper its 91% occupancy. No chance for Leipzig to compete with this.

        A great symphony orchestra didn’t make Birmingham a top tourist destination either, did it?

        • Olassus says:

          Oper Leipzig
          MDR Rundfunkchor (best German large chorus)
          Bach Museum
          Schiller house
          Book fair
          Old Town Hall (Haußmann Bach portrait)
          Wagner birth site
          Schumann house
          Mendelssohn house
          Thomaskirche (Bach cantatas)
          Nikolaikirche (Johannes-Passion)
          Grassi Museum
          Alte Börse
          Auerbachs Keller (Goethe)

          • Simon S. says:

            You needn’t tell me, I know that already. But this doesn’t make Leipzig hip with pensioners on all-inclusive tour. Better for Leipzig, I would say.

        • PDQ.BACH says:

          Tourists ratio Dresden:Leipzig ≅ 3:1
          Dresden expects more than 4 million tourists this year, most of which will stay two nights at least.
          Leipzig, up to 1.35 million.

          For the brutal numbers, see

  • rambonito says:

    No one here would consider that Thielemann is extremly popular. People travel feom everywhere to attend his concerts .Maybe not political correct to say that on this forum.

    • Simon S. says:

      Thielemann only conducts 15 performances per season at Dresden Opera. This can’t be the main reason for these attendance figures.

  • Nick says:

    Having just visited Leipzig for the first time, Dresden and Leipzig are more than just miles apart. Leipzig has a few interesting buildings, its Bach heritage and the Gewandhaus Orchestra. But it has none of the charm of Dresden and I found it incredibly boring as a city.