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Germany gives Santa a job in Sydney – in August

August 21, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

It’s well known that Santa Claus is under-employed in August, so he was delighted to be invited along to Sydney Opera House last Friday by the German National Tourist Office (GNTO) and Emirates Airline – for a very special occasion.

Sydney Opera House was staging a wonderful concert featuring two of Germany’s most famous composers: Ludwig van Beethoven and Anton Bruckner. GNTO is preparing for Beethoven’s 250th birthday in 2020. A special theme year will be devoted to Beethoven, considered by many to be the world’s greatest composer.

Santa Claus with Stefanie Eberhard, Director GNTO Australia

August in Sydney is as close as the Australian city ever comes to German Christmas weather, so the German National Tourist Office got into the mood with Christmas festivities and fare to wish supporters an early Merry Christmas, or Fröhliche Weihnachten. Father Christmas was on hand to make it official!

Lovers of German food and wine will be happy to know that next year is the year of Culinary Germany, the GNTO theme for 2018.

Santa and helpers

Australia’s charismatic conductor Simone Young returned to Sydney to conduct the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony, joined by esteemed English pianist Imogen Cooper in Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2.

Simone Young

Simone Young has a deep affinity with the Romantic repertoire from the Austro-German tradition. Bruckner’s towering Fifth Symphony let the audience experience the heart of his grand, creative vision and become “wanderers in the fields of eternal greatness”, the the Sydney Opera House put it.

Young, born in Sydney of Irish ancestry on her father’s side and Croatian ancestry on her mother’s side, in 1986 became the first woman and youngest person to be appointed a resident conductor with Opera Australia.

She also has strong links with Germany, having made her first conducting appearance at the Hamburg State Opera in 1996 and being named both chief executive of the Hamburg State Opera and chief conductor of the Philharmoniker Hamburg in 2005. In 2006, she became Professor of Music and Theatre at the University of Hamburg and in 2006 critics of the magazine Opernwelt selected her in October 2006 as the Dirigentin des Jahres (Conductor of the Year).

Her discography includes all the symphonies of Anton Bruckner and the complete Ring Cycle of Richard Wagner; she was the first woman to have recorded either of these cycles.

Emirates and GNTO are currently celebrating 30 years of Emirates flying to Germany, a good reason for Friday’s musical celebration.

Emirates, now in its 15th year as Principal Partner of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, flies to Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Dusseldorf, offering swift service between Australia and Germany via Dubai in conjunction with its Australian partner Qantas.


Written by Peter Needham

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