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Skilled ORCHESTRA with a long history

Musicians who had come to Sweden from Europe laid the foundation for the Royal Swedish Orchestra. Almost 500 years later it is not only one of the world’s oldest orchestras; with 105 members it is also the largest orchestra in Sweden. From having been a royal institution under Gustav Vasa, the orchestra has been at the heart of the Royal Opera since its inception in 1773, bringing together all its disciplines.

The orchestra is normally found in the orchestra pit between the main stage and the stalls. But like the Royal Swedish Opera Chorus, members of the orchestra also participate in lunch concerts and at surprise events. The Royal Swedish Opera music director and international conductor Alan Gilbert is head of the Royal Swedish Orchestra.

»Strauss has such an incredible affinity for the voice, which makes his music a joy to conduct.« 

Musical Director

»Working with the musical repertoire of the Royal Swedish Opera is fantastic,« says Alan Gilbert who in the 2021/2022 season conducted Die Walküre, The Promise and La fanciulla del West at the Royal Swedish Opera. » I’m very much looking forward to conducting Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos this autumn, it’s a first for me. Strauss is a master. He has such an incredible affinity for the voice, especially the female voice, which makes his music a joy to conduct. Ariadne is a very focused character, it is possible to bring out the humaneness and complexities in her. I find the really fascinating to deal with. I went as deep as I could in the music when we rehearsed it, just before the pandemic came and turned everything upside down – so I'm very happy that we can finally present it to the audience of the Royal Swedish Opera this autumn.«

Alan Gilbert enjoys a worldwide reputation as one of the most respected and versatile conductors of both opera and symphonic music today. The winner of several International Grammy Awards, he is renowned for his deep musicianship, his ambitious programming and his wide-ranging curiosity beyond the core repertoire. Alan Gilbert is well known to the Swedish audience from his many years as principal conductor of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra of which he is now conductor laureate. Alan is currently both music director of the Royal Swedish Orchestra and principal conductor at Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg.


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