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Conductor Thielemann: Staatsoper instead of Staatskapelle

Photo: Sebastian Kahnert / dpa

Conductor Christian Thielemann will become the new General Music Director at the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden. The 64-year-old succeeds Daniel Barenboim, who had to relinquish the post at the beginning of the year due to illness. Thielemann will take over the office in 2024, as Berlin's Senator for Culture Joe Chialo (CDU) announced on Wednesday.

Thielemann, who is considered a Wagner specialist, had always referred to his contract with the Staatskapelle Dresden, which runs until 2024.

Previously, the internationally acclaimed conductor was artistic director of the Salzburg Easter Festival and music director of the Bayreuth Festival. Thielemann has also been General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Munich Philharmonic, among others. He has also conducted the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras.

The 80-year-old Barenboim also took over the Staatskapelle in 1992 as General Music Director of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. His opera contract was to run until 2027. He relinquished the musical direction of the Staatsoper at the beginning of the year due to health reasons.

Thielemann was once Barenboim's assistant, and the two have known each other for decades. Most recently, Thielemann stepped in twice as conductor when Barenboim was unable to conduct the Wagner cycle "Der Ring des Nibelungen" at the Staatsoper, which had been staged for his 80th birthday due to health reasons.