It is hard to imagine a city with a richer cultural history than Dresden or a better place for a young German musician to complete his studies. That was the case for Johannes Fritzsch, born in 1960 into an intensely musical family in Meissen, a town close to Dresden, and known for beautiful and refined porcelain. Dresden’s famous opera house did not reopen until 1985 after its post-war reconstruction. By then, Johannes Fritzsch had, in 1982, taken his first conducting post at the Rostock Volkstheater returning to Dresden as first Kapellmeister at the Semperoper from 1987 to 1992.
He made his first appearance in Australia in 1992. We were mounting a new production of Humperdinck’s Hansel & Gretel being directed by Elijah Moshinsky and our artistic director, Moffatt Oxenbould chose Johannes Fritzsch to conduct the production. It proved to be a most happy choice for both Fritzsch and the opera company here. He returned to Australia for numerous engagements including a much admired performance at the 2000 Adelaide Festival of Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck. He held chief conductor positions in Europe.
Maestro Fritzsch has recently accepted appointment as principal conductor and artistic advisor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, renewing an association which began in 2008. He has also been principal guest conductor of the Tasmanian Symphony for three years. In 1999, he married Australian violinist Susan Collins; they have three daughters.
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