Richard Strauss is in the House

An Annotated Listing of Strauss Operas in 2014

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - 12:00 AM

If 2013 was the year of Wagner, Verdi and Britten, the uncontested star of 2014 is Richard Strauss, who will see the 150th anniversary of his birth celebrated on June 11 and have most of his operas performed in Europe and, to a lesser extent, North America. Major orchestras have programmed much of his symphonic music and recitalists will include his beautiful songs in their concerts.

Some fine performances of Strauss have already taken place. On December 15, the American Symphony Orchestra and Leon Botstein performed the early comedy Feuersnot at Carnegie Hall, striking a blow for exploring the lesser-known operas.

The Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Strauss’s home town, chose Die Frau ohne Schatten for a new production on November 21, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the house's reopening after it had been badly damaged by bombing in October 1943. This opera returns June 29 and July 3. Also scheduled are Der Rosenkavalier (March 2, 3, 8; July 26, 29); Salome (March 22, 26, 29; April 2) and Ariadne auf Naxos (May 16, 19, 22; July 23).

Dresden will be an important destination for lovers of Strauss. Nine of his fifteen operas had their premieres there. The Semperoper gives a new production of Elektra (January 19-31; June 22, 29) with a stellar cast. Strauss’s first opera, Guntram, will be heard in concert February 23, 28; March 2. Feuersnot gets semi-staged performances on June 7, 9 and 10. On June 11, there will be a gala anniversary concert led by Christian Thielemann with three sopranos—Anja Harteros, Camilla Nylund, Nina Stemme—performing an impressive sampling of Strauss’s music. Renée Fleming is scheduled in mid-November for Der Rosenkavalier and Capriccio.

What follows is a chronological listing of other important Strauss performances in 2014:

January-March

The Flanders Opera presents a new production of Der Rosenkavalier by Academy Award-winning actor Christoph Waltz from January 9 to 19 in Ghent, Belgium.

Gun-Brit Barkmin sings the title role in Salome at the Vienna State Opera on February 10, 13, 17 with Andris Nelsons conducting.

Daphne, the story of a nymph who is transformed into a tree to beautiful music, will star Maria Bengsston at the Frankfurt Opera, February 28-March 22.

Renée Fleming and Sarah Connolly headline a March 8 concert performance of Der Rosenkavalier at Washington’s Kennedy Center, with Christoph Eschenbach leading the National Symphony Orchestra. The maestro and the NSO will be joined by Iréne Theorin and John Relyea in a concert that includes music from Salome and Elektra, March 20-22.

The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, will present a new production of Frau by Claus Guth (right) from March 14 to April 2. The conductor is Semyon Bychkov and the stars are Emily Magee, Elena Pankratova, Johan Botha and Johan Reuter.

Jennifer Check sings Ariadne in Toulon, France March 14, 16, 18.

Elektra is scheduled for a single performance at the Mariinsky in St. Petersburg on March 20 with a cast to be announced.

April:

The Metropolitan Opera, which recently presented a ripping Die Frau ohne Schatten and a bittersweet Der Rosenkavalier, will revive Arabella April 3-24 with Malin Byström in the title role. Annette Dasch plays Arabella at the Netherlands Opera April 11 to May 2. 

Arabella will also be at the Salzburg Easter Festival (April 12-21) with Christian Thielemann leading Fleming and Thomas Hampson. There will also be an orchestral concert with Strauss tone poems and Anja Harteros singing Four Last Songs and Malven. Fleming then sings the Marschallin in Vienna on April 23, 27, 30.

Ariadne auf Naxos is performed at the Vienna State Opera (April 15-22; June 11-20). It will be presented at the Royal Opera House in London (June 25-July 13) with Antonio Pappano conducting and Karita Mattila starring. It will also be at the Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown, NY (July 19-August 23) with Christine Goerke in the title role.

Nina Stemme as Salome is one of the most enticing prospects this year. She performs the role in Zurich from April 19 to May 4.

May-July:

The Glyndebourne Festival will present a new production by Richard Jones of Der Rosenkavalier from May 17 to July 3, with Kate Royal as a youthful Marschallin and Tara Erraught as Octavian. Robin Ticciati conducts. The same work will be at the Finnish National Opera from May 13-21, starring Melanie Diener and Niina Keitel.

The Elektra production by the late Patrice Chéreau that had an ecstatic reception last summer in Aix-en-Provence will be at La Scala for six performances from May 18 to June 10 with the original cast. Although the production is shared by other companies (Liceu in Barcelona; Staatsoper unter den Linden in Berlin; Finnish National Opera; the Metropolitan) scheduled to present it in the future, Chéreau is reported to have insisted that his name can only appear in the credits when the conductor (Esa-Pekka Salonen) and cast (Evelyn Herlitzius, Adrianne Pieczonka, Waltraud Meier, Tom Randle, René Pape) are the ones he personally worked with. I gather from a reliable source that the La Scala cast will be the last one that features all the original singers.

Budapest will be a major destination for Straussians between May 25 and June 11 as the Hungarian State Opera stages Ariadne auf Naxos, Arabella, Elektra, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Der Rosenkavalier and Salome, plus an orchestral concert.

Anne Schwanewilms sings Danae in a concert version of the rarely-heard Die Liebe der Danae (1944) at the Frankfurt Opera (June 15, 19).

August-November:

Strauss was one of the founders of the Salzburg Festival in 1920, so it is logical that he will be honored there this summer. Franz Welser-Möst will conduct, and Harry Kupfer stages, a new production of Der Rosenkavalier (Aug. 1-23) starring Krassimira Stoyanova and Sophie Koch.

The Teatro San Carlo in Naples will have Nicola Luisotti leading Catherine Naglestad as Salome November 15-26.

 

Photos: 1) Die Frau ohne Schatten (Monika Rittershaus/Teatro alla Scala) 2) Arabella: Winnie Klotz/Metropolitan Opera

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Comments [8]

J. Tepper from Brooklyn, NY

Emended: Without success, I tried to call on-air talent Elliott while a recording was playing to let him know that, as a child, I became aware of a piece of a piece of music because it was the tag tune to a TV program that I enjoyed called The Big Story.

The piece was, of course, the opening of Ein Heldenleiben, which I was unaware of at the time.

Then I saw that programs sponsored by Pell Mell (remember? outstanding and they are mild)invariably used the tune to accompany the protagonist walking off at the end of the show(not always into the sunset, however).

I wanted to be sure that Elliott and the station were aware of that aspect of a piece of Strauss (or, I guess, a Strauss piece). j

Jun. 13 2014 04:46 PM
J. Tepper from Brooklyn, NY

Without success, I tried to call on-air talent Elliott while a recording was playing to let him know that, as a child, I became aware of a piece of a piece because it was the tag tune to a TV program that I enjoyed called The Big Story.

The piece was, of course, the opening of Ein Heldenleiben, which I was unaware of at the time.

Then I saw that programs sponsored by Pell Mell (remember? outstanding and they are mild). The tune always accompanied the protagonist walking off (not always into the sunset, however).

I wanted to be sure that Elliott and the station was aware of that aspect of a piece of Strauss (or, I guess, a Strauss piece). j

Jun. 13 2014 04:42 PM
Robin White from Washington, DC

Thanks again for the great Richard Strauss seminar at the Smithsonian March 8.

I just heard that Washington Concert Opera will do Guntram on March 1, 2015. Everything WCO does is fabulous (even if the opera itself isn't one of the best) so it will be a good chance to hear a rarely done opera. Leads will be Russell Thomas, Marjorie Owens and Tom Fox.

Mar. 10 2014 06:25 PM
Fred Plotkin from New York

To Les in Miami: Yes, I agree entirely about the wind serenade and Enoch Arden. To Juan Carlos in Santiago: You live in a beautiful city with a wonderful opera house. The question you raise about Strauss and Nazism is very important. The more I study Strauss's life, the more I come to the conclusion that he was not an active Nazi, but was quite naive and self-serving. He had Jewish relatives and he thought he could better protect them by gaining favor with Nazi officials. He collaborated artistically with Jews. He was, in fact, an atheist so had no particular investment in religion. Believe me, I have absolutely no reason to defend him or anyone who collaborated with the Nazis. Strauss did whatever he could to get and keep work and seems, in political terms at least, to have had no moral compass. This is more than unfortunate and, when I compare him to contemporaries such as Toscanini, he comes up very short. So there is the music, which is often amazing, and the life, which is very flawed.

Jan. 03 2014 06:18 PM
Juan Carlos Correa from Santiago, Chile

One of the presents that I got during Christmas was a DVD dedicated to the life and career of Herbert von Karayan. In that Documentary it is stated that Mr. Karayan became a member of the Nazi Party in order to develop his career and it also says that Richard Strauss helped him by directly recommending him to Goebbels.In the film there is a scene of Strauss and Goebels in a friendly talk. I was really shocked!!!!!

Jan. 02 2014 01:18 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

While Strauss's reputation is without question based upon his operas, tone poems and songs, I'd first like to suggest listening to his "Serenade" for Winds, Op. 7, preferably with the Eastman Wind Ensemble conducted by Frederic Fennell, as an example of reflective romanticism, and also as an example of what might have been had he been commissioned and/or inclined to write more for wind ensemble. Second, for an example of a long-abandoned form, the monodrama, I'd like to suggest "Enoch Arden", Op. 38 with Glenn Gould, piano and Claude Rains, narrator.

Jan. 02 2014 09:20 AM
Scott Rose from Manhattan

Strauss said: "„Wer ein richtiger Musiker sein will, der muß auch eine Speisekarte komponieren können.“ (Whoever would be a real composer must even be able to set a restaurant menu to music).

Jan. 01 2014 10:35 AM
Charles Fischbein from Front Royal, Va.

Thank you Fred for the comprehensive list. I gave up following the Kennedy Center the past two years due to the decline of The Washington Opera. However as soon as I read that Ms. Fleming will be performing there in March, I went online and purchased tickets. Somehow I missed it on her web site. This is Kennedy Center Production, not connected to The Washington Opera, thank you again for the information. Happy New Year, God Speed, Charles Fischbein

Dec. 31 2013 09:14 AM

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