Scramble for Strauss batons as Thielemann pulls out

Scramble for Strauss batons as Thielemann pulls out


norman lebrecht

March 17, 2023

Music director Christian Thielemann has withdrawn from Dresden’s Richard Strauss Days festival at the end of this month on sudden health grounds.

The Semper Oper has been flailing frantically for replacements.

Cornelius Meister, General Music Director of Stuttgart State Opera, will take over two performances of Rosenkavalier.

David Afkham, chief conductor of Orquestra y Coro Nacional de España, will be responsible for Arabella.

And the unattached Tugan Sokhiev steps in for the orchestral concerts.


  • Jerry says:

    We all love Thielemann.

  • Gustavo says:

    We all love Richard Strauss.

  • this happens says:

    We all love thielemann, and well, this happens

  • Pedro says:

    As Barenboim has retired from opera performances, Thielemann, Gatti and Salonen are the best Wagner and Strauss conductors alive, imho.

  • Humble Admirer says:

    Thielemann and Staatskapelle with Wagner and Strauss are among the most amazing things I have heard in my life

  • Colin Anderson says:

    Much success recently for CT and the Vienna Phil in Carnegie Hall.

    • Beatitude says:

      I drove 500 miles to see the VP repeat these performances in Berkeley last week. Well worth the effort and I echo the kudos.

  • Gustavo says:

    Isn’t he done with Dresden anyway?

    • Samach says:


      It’s not that he de-priorizes Dresden, it’s that since his contract was not renewed he had to take on high-visibility guest conducting (Vienna, Berlin, and their world tours, Chicago), such that he gets exhausted (he’s in his 60s, the globetrotting exacts a toll), and consequently Dresden pays the price for his health issues that arise from such a punishing schedule (for any age, his Vienna tour in the US took him through 4 time zones in 2 weeks, no one can adjust to the jet lag in such a short period of time and still have to perform at their best).

      Hopefully he can settle down somewhere soon in some capacity in Berlin or in Chicago or both.

  • Roger Rocco says:

    Thielemann is also a great conductor of Bruckner! Recently in Chicago, he conducted the 8th Symphony.

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    Franz Wesler-Most is very good with Strauss too, IMO.

  • John Ebert says:

    Of course, if at all possible : the concert must go on !!