Landeshauptstadt Dresden - 06.11.2017 10:11:53 Uhr 06.12.2021 20:10:05 Uhr
Manfred Weiß, Artistic Director Semper Zwei and Semperoper Junge Szene © Matthias Creutziger
© Matthias Creutziger

Semper Zwei. Space for experiments

Opened in October 2016, Semper Zwei is the Semperoper Dresden’s stage for experimental and new music theatre formats. Located right behind the Semper Building, it offers seating for up to 160 viewers. Manfred Weiß, Artistic Director of Semper Zwei, reveals some of the highlights of the coming season and gives a preview of the Christmas season.

Mr Weiß, what is so special about the new Semper Zwei?

Semper Zwei gives us a place where we can try out new and unusual things. We transform the whole room to suit the production. Sometimes we have the viewers sitting in the scenery, sometimes we create a bar atmosphere – or we go for the traditional stage setup. The singers and dancers of the Semperoper love the intimate atmosphere and show completely different facets of their artistic abilities than they do in the opera house. Here, for example, they have sung karaoke or Broadway hits. The audience gets to experience the artists up close. All this makes Semper Zwei an ideal place for children or young opera fans to get their first experiences.

What are the "must sees" of the season?

Everything, of course! (laughs) In December we have the re-opening of the opera "Kaiser von Atlantis" which Viktor Ullmann composed while he was in the concentration camp Theresienstadt. As the Semperoper did with the piece "Die Passagierin", Semper Zwei takes a critical look at German history. We then start the year with a very special treat. At the start of our new concert series "Fenster aus Jazz" on 19 January 2018, the famous Dresden jazz percussionist Günter Baby Sommer will be performing together with the world famous trumpeter Till Brönner. On 7 January, everyone who missed our opening performance will have a chance to see "the killer in me is the killer in you my love" by Ali N. Askin and to sit "in the swimming pool". On 6 April is the opening night for "Cabaret", the famous musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb. And I would especially like to draw attention to the world premiere of the children’s opera "Das Rätsel der gestohlenen Stimmen" on 13 May. Johannes Wulff-Woesten, who works at the Semperoper as a conductor, pianist and répétiteur, composed the music and helped to bring this famous children’s play by Alan Ayckbourn to the musical stage.

What new things have you recently discovered in Dresden?

Right after the summer holidays I started in with the rehearsals for Leonard Bernstein’s "Trouble in Tahiti", so I haven’t really had time to discover anything new. In times like these I tend to go back to places I know. Dresden Neustadt is the city’s artistic quarter. It has a really friendly atmosphere and I go to such places as the "Bagel Bar" at Louisenstraße 77 or "Raskolnikoff" at Böhmische Straße 34.

What special events are you putting on in the pre-Christmas season?

From 25 October until 19 November there are twelve performances of "Schneewitte" for audiences aged 7 and up. Written by Sophie Kassies and composer Jens Joneleit for four musicians, two singers and two actors, it retells the famous fairy tale in a wise and funny way. And shortly before Christmas, on 22 December, we are re-opening our Semper Bar. Under the motto "On to America", our guests can sit back, enjoy the comfortable bar atmosphere, drink great cocktails and listen to bar classics from Broadway.


Born in Kassel, Germany, Manfred Weiß studied Drama and Communications Sciences in Munich. He has been working as a director, author and actor since 1992 and has teaching posts in Salzburg, Basel and Stuttgart. He has been Artistic Director of Semper Zwei and of Jungen Szene Semperoper Dresden since 2010.