Ulrike Hessler 1955-2012

It is with great sadness that the Salzburg Easter Festival received the unexpected news that on Monday, 30 July 2012, Dr. Ulrike Hessler, the Managing Director and Intendant of the Semperoper Dresden, has passed away. Peter Alward, the Managing Director and Intendant of the Salzburg Easter Festival, dedicates a personal obituary to a highly valued cooperation partner and faithful friend.

I had known Ulrike Hessler for nearly 30 years. Our paths first crossed when she was in charge of press and public relations at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich under Wolfgang Sawallisch, with whom I was recording. She was, in all senses, a “Grande Dame”. Tall and imposing in stature, matched by her command of her professional activities. She knew what she wanted and achieved this with great personal charm and diplomacy.

It was my immense luck that when faced with the unexpected and urgent need to find a new orchestra for the Salzburg Easter Festival, Ulrike was now at the helm of the Semperoper Dresden. Without hesitation, she and her colleagues gave me every possible assistance in making the change possible.

Only one month ago in one of her regular SMS, she wrote: “Lieber Peter, ich denke häufig an dich und an unser gemeinsames ‘Baby’ Osterfest- spiele.” (Dear Peter, I think a lot about you and our joint Easter Festival ‘Baby'). Dear Ulrike, when the curtain rises on the first festival with Christian Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden, which you helped to create, we will think of you with deep gratitude and respect.

Peter Alward, 2 August 2012

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