Choir, Ballet and Orchestra
Kyung Hee Kim
The Musical Comedy Theatre’s ensemble, directed by Mathias Drechsler since 2007, comprises of 26 singers, some of whom also sing solo parts. The ensemble sings in all of the Musical Comedy Theatre’s performances which have a choir and so is constantly alternating between operettas, musicals and opera plays. It soon becomes apparent that, particularly in the area of classical music, the small ensemble is capable of a high level of performance. When they do not have enough capacity to meet requirements, an extra chorus comes to their aid, comprising mainly of students from the Hochschule für Musik und Theater »Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy« Leipzig (Leipzig’s Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy College of Music and Theatre), giving them their first practical professional experience.
The Musical Comedy Theatre’s ensemble displays great enthusiasm, stage presence and versatility. Dance movement is par for the course for an ensemble performing in operetta and musicals. The Musical Comedy Theatre’s ensemble is also called upon for unusual opera projects such as Verdi’s Don Carlos, Boris Godunov by Mussorgsky or the Berlioz operas La Damnation de Faust and Les Troyens. One of the highlights to date was their participation in the première of Tuesday from Light by and with Karlheinz Stockhausen in 1993. However, the Musical Comedy Theatre’s ensemble has also sung more minor roles on the opera stage such as the Kleine Offenbachiade (Little Offenbachiade) with three one-act pieces by Jacques Offenbach, modern chamber operas such as Draußen vor der Tür (Outside the Door) (Xaver Paul Thoma) or Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (Waxworks) (Karl Amadeus Hartmann) in the Kellertheater (cellar theatre) as well as From the Mattress Crypt (Günter Bialas) and Greek (Mark-Anthony Turnage).
Mathias Drechsler has been Choral Director since 2007. He presents the ensemble with challenging work and also lets them perform independently on many occasions. In the new concert series Klangfarben (Tone Colours), the ensemble sings more major choral symphonic and sacred works for the first time, thus expanding its repertoire. The invitations for guest performances are also noteworthy, including for a recent concert performance of Die Dollarprinzessin (The Dollar Princess) by Leo Fall with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester (Munich Radio Orchestra) directed by Ulf Schirmer in the Prinzentheater München (Prince Regent’s Theatre in Munich).
The Musical Comedy Theatre’s ballet company is an ensemble of classically trained dancers specialised in stylistic and choreographic aspects of operetta, musicals and revues. Here, the broad spectrum of requirements ranges from dance to small singing and speaking parts. Dancers face many challenges through their participation in revues, concerts and semi-staged productions. The company comprises of 15 dancers from different nations. There was previously a ballet company in the Neues Operettentheater (New Operetta Theatre), now the Leipziger Schauspielhaus (Leipzig Playhouse). Emma Grondona was Ballet Mistress in the Vereinigtes Stadttheater Leipzig (United City Theatre of Leipzig), which the operetta theatre was part of from 1912 onwards. For special productions, guests such as Ballet Master Kurt Kern from the Admiralspalast Berlin (Berlin’s Admiral Palace) were engaged, who also performed as a principal dancer in Leipzig. After the war, artists such as Carla Henze, Herbert Freund, Ingo Thess or Tom Schilling worked as choreographers in the operetta theatre on the Lindenauer Markt and subsequently enjoyed international acclaim in the world of ballet.
At that time, there were also already some ballet evenings and even premières such as Großstadtbummel (Stroll in the City) with music by Walter Hartmann (1957). The ballet was primarily developed by Monika Geppert, a student of Palucca and the longstanding principal dancer in the theatre, who directed it from 1978 to 2003 and turned it into a high-achieving genre-specific ensemble with high artistic standards. Mirko Mahr took over as Director of Ballet in 2005. He wrote most of the choreographies for the theatre’s new productions himself and also created special ballet evenings for his ensemble for the first time. After the success of the film music evening Dancing Movies in the 2005/06 season, the ballet company of the Musical Comedy Theatre showed its quality and creativity in the production Weltenbummler (Globetrotter) by Richard Fall in the Kellertheater (cellar theatre) of the opera house in 2006/07 – also with choreographies by the individual dancers – as well as in many other performances.
In 2007/08, the ballet company performed its first production for children with Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns. This was followed in autumn 2009 by the full-length ballet Cinderella by Johann Strauss, which has since enriched the theatre’s programme for children and families in the run-up to Christmas. Since 20 14, Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet has been performed in the Musical Comedy Theatre in a production by Mirko Mahr specially designed for young audiences. 2015/16 for the same group Carmen.
Assistant First Concertmaster
Thomas Krause Principal, Henrike Borck, Hans-Günther Brocke, Hildegund Fröba, Kristin Hampel, Ingolf Schauer
Holger Engelhardt Principal, Angelika Speth Assistant Principal, Eva Heinig, Frank Endres, Peggy Mühlmann, Dmitriy Rutter
Karen Rösch Principal, Stefan Czernetzki Assistant Principal, Annegret Meder, Juraj Migas
Stephan Wünsch Principal, Hans Blüthgen Assistant Principal, Andrea Lászlo, Christiane Lauer
Tilman Schmidt Principal, Sergio Glaser Assistant Principal, Norbert Stark
Thomas Reimann Principal, Verena Robertz
Norbert Kaschel Principal, Sven Clement
Marko Drechsel Principal, Henriette Störel Assistant Principal, N.N.
Teodor Naumov Principal, Wieland Rucker
Martin Lukas Principal, Stefan Markwart, Bernd Kademann, Danny Tielens
Michael Schlabes Principal, Torsten Rösch Assistant Principal, Ralph Schäfer
Stefan Gruner Principal, Gero Schmidt, Hendrik Reichardt
Frank Babe Principal Timpani, René Scipio Principal Percussion
Angelika Schauer Principal
Assistant Orchestra Inspector
Christiane Lauer Head, Michael Schlabes, Annegret Meder Deputy Head
“To make music with you isn’t just an honor, it is a great pleasure!” said Robert Stolz (1880-1975), one of the many renowned guest conductors the Orchestra has had the honor and pleasure of working with in its history.
The Orchestra of the Musikalische Komödie has been making music for over 100 years, and is the second-oldest orchestra in Leipzig (the Gewandhaus Orchestra is the oldest).
Under its principal conductors, the Orchestra has become internationally known for its stylistic musical performances, ranging from operetta of every kind to musicals and light opera. Roland Seiffarth has conducted at the Dreilinden House since 1967. He was named Music Director and Principal Conductor in 1978, a position he held until 2007, when he was made the Orchestra’s Conductor Laureate. From 2007-2015, Stefan Diederich was Principal Conductor of the Muskalische Komödie, during which time the Orchestra saw numerous invitations to guest nationwide in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. They appeared at the Philharmonies in Cologne and Essen, Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt Open Air concerts, Dortumund’s Konzerthaus, the Graf-Zeppelin-Haus in Friedrichshafen, the Konzerttheater in Coesfeld, and Aschaffenburg.
In recent years, the Orchestra has taken steps to nurture tomorrow’s music makers. Together with the Deutscher Musikrat (German Music Council), the Orchestra has participated in an annual Operetta Workshop, where young conductors take their place at the head of the Orchestra. In addition, the Orchestra works closely with the conducting students at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.”
With the beginning of the 2015/16 season, Stefan Klingele began a five-year appointment as Principal Conductor of the Musikalische Komödie. But he’d already made a name for himself in Leipzig, musically directing a production of One Touch of Venus at the Opera House and the ballet Romeo and Juliet at the Musikalische Komödie. Klingele regularly guests at the opera houses in Stockholm, Dresden, and Hanover. His background as an opera and concert conductor allows him to bring different perspectives and insights to his work with the Orchestra and together, they’re reinterpreting classic operetta and musical.