Strauss's Die Frau Ohne Schatten

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Christine Goerke as the Dyer's Wife in Richard Strauss's 'Die Frau ohne Schatten.' Christine Goerke as the Dyer's Wife in Richard Strauss's "Die Frau ohne Schatten." (Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

This Saturday at 1 pm, the Met broadcasts Die Frau Ohne Schatten, starring Christine Goerke and Anne Schwanewilms, recorded last fall. 

Herbert Wernicke
Herbert Wernicke

Strauss's lush, heavily symbolic opera is heard in a revival of the 2001 production directed by the late German director Herbert Wernicke. The performance features Christine Goerke as the Dyer's Wife, a breakthrough role for a singer who has been increasingly seen in Wagnerian operas of late. It also stars soprano Anne Schwanewilms, whom the New York Times applauded for her debut as the Empress, and conductor Vladimir Jurowski "drew a plush and surging account of Strauss’s miraculous score from the great Met orchestra."

Other cast members of this production include John Reuter as the Dyer, Ildikó Komlósi as the nurse, and Torsten Kerl as the Emperor. 


Conductor: Vladimir Jurowski
The Nurse: Ildikó Komlósi
The Emperor: Torsten Kerl
The Empress: Anne Schwanewilms
The Dyer’s Wife: Christine Goerke
Barak, the Dyer: Johan Reuter
Keikobad: Richard Paul Fink

Comments [16]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Ruchard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Mr. Robert St. Onge from CochitI Lake, NM has a valid point that singers such as Flagstad, Melchior, Nilsson, Kipnis, Schorr, Ponselle, Caruso, Rysanek, Dalis and King do not grow on trees. The talent and motivation MUST be there. But also the teachers. Few singers who achieve the heights are autodidacts, self-learners. I from my Juilliard days on have heard at Juilliard some fantastically talented singers who should have had major careers but something abutted their potential careers. It wasn't their lack of talent but insignificant chores and bad advice that steered them from the proper avenues to reach their goals. We are all used to commercials in all the media extolling mediocrity in the arts, in politics and household items. We accept those commercials but we instinctively know better. JOE NAMATH rightly said, 'if you have something special flaunt it, let the public judge your claim." I sincerely believe that one must make the public aware if they have those special attributes, the goods, to sustain a major career, whatever the format.

Feb. 15 2014 07:36 PM
Robert St.Onge from Cochiti Lake,NM

Mr. Lane, you generally have interesting things to say about whatever is the topic. Your "selfie commercials" are superfluous. We who do not share your life experiences don't need your resume to know if you know what you are talking about. Frankly, it's getting to be a bit solipsistic. I agree with your hope that "Frau" could be done more often but where are you going to get the singers? Rysanek, Ludwig, Berry, King, Irene Dalis (the only 'Amme" to make sense of the role, in my experience), later Nilsson, and now Goerke don't grow on trees.

Feb. 15 2014 05:39 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

The broadcast pf last November 26th of FRAU has just concluded. What a memorable treat for we the radio audience. VERDI, WAGNER, PUCCINI, REMBRANDT LEONARDO DA VINCI and SHAKESPEARE continued to grow in their mastery of their craft so that their final "episodes:" were the "last word" in their legacies. I am a Wagnerian romantischer heldentenor. I will sing the four song cycles that are most often performed in their orchestral garb:the complete Wagner's "Wesendonck Lieder," the complete Mahler's "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen," the tenor's music in Mahler's "Das Lied von der Erde" and Waldemar's music in Schoenberg's "Gurre-Lieder" at the New Life Expo at the Hotel Pennsylvania in NYC on Saturday March 22nd at 6 PM. I have sung four three-hour-long solo concerts, the last two ALL-WAGNER concerts, in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall including programming the Wagner and the first named Mahler song cycle. One may hear my singing LIVE from the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium of CARNEGIE HALL, from my four three-hour-long solo concerts by downloading, FREE, 37 out of the nearly 100 selections that I have sung there by going to RECORDED SELECTIONS on my websites, and

Feb. 15 2014 05:00 PM

As a tenor myself, I completely agree with Mr. Lane's assessment of Kerl.

Feb. 15 2014 04:50 PM

As a tenor myself, I agree completely with Mr. Lane's assessment of Mr. Kerl. He just doesn't have the pipes.

Feb. 15 2014 04:48 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

RICHARD STRAUSS was at the full command of his resources when he composed FRAU. As Cavanaugh wrote here, the role of the Emperor is for good reason assigned to a heldentenor. Torsten Kerl is not even a strong voiced dramatic tenor, tenore di forza. All the roles are written for world class singers with dramaturgy talents. Given the voices required FRAU is a towering masterpiece. It deserves wider presentation in major venues and DVDs and become a staple with the frequently performed operas.

Feb. 15 2014 04:29 PM
Steve Kur from Tampa, Florida

I was lucky enough to be at the incredible 1966 performance of this Strauss masterpiece, and like Ira said after Act 1 today, it was truly wonderful.

This performance is quite good, though not on the level of the 1966 production, and neither are the sets.

And this is the weakest Nurse I've ever heard; she was totally off pitch on her final word, "Mir," at the end of Act 2; oh well, no one is perfect.

Feb. 15 2014 04:19 PM

CBC Would I lead you astray? I told you this was a GREAT one. I'm glad you are enjoying it, as everyone else should be. I hope you get to hear the final quartet, ending on a High C for both sops. And then it just fades away & you realize you've heard something special.

Feb. 15 2014 03:55 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

CBC: Really enjoying this one. Wow, what orchestration. I am expecting company and hope they show up after the broadcast is over.
Best wishes to all

Feb. 15 2014 03:15 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, LaKE Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner M

Those of us who heard live at the MET James King as the Emperor, Birgit Nilsson as the Dyer's wife, Leonie Rysanek as the Empress and Walter Berry as Barak may never be entirely satisfied with other singers in those respective roles. Karl Bohm outdid himself conducting the opera with such gusto and full devotion to the score that the FRAU performances which I heard were magical. In this production CHRISTINE GOERKE is fabulous vocally as the Dyer's wife. She is certainly a potential superstar. Maestro Vladimir Jurowsky is totally immersed in the music's import;. His background and ability to encounter the demands of this masterpiece with such masterful aplomb speaks well for his participation in major opera events. Let's hope the MET assigns him many performances.

Feb. 15 2014 02:44 PM

Now that you've heard him, it's only my opinion but the tenor is the weak link in this perf. He tries but is overwhelmed. I remember King, Thomas Hopf, Svanholm & Nagy as the Kaiser on recording or live, Kerl just doesn't have the heft. You need a Siegfried voice & he doesn't have it. Just my opinion.

Feb. 15 2014 01:25 PM

Keikobad doesn't appear or sing in this opera, only his theme is played. How could Richard Paul Fink appear in the opera. I think he is the Geisterbote.

Feb. 15 2014 12:45 PM

CBC the orchestra is so large it doesn't fit in some older houses like Covent Garden. The sounds are lush.

Feb. 15 2014 12:18 PM

CBC I know this opera intimately. There are soaring melodies and exquisite quiet moments. The Watchmen at the end of Act 1 can bring you to tears. The end of Act 2 is Earth-shaking. The start of Act 3 has a fantastic duet between sop & bar. C. Ludwig & W.Berry did it at the Met from '66 on, it was magical. There is much dissonance but that's Strauss. The final quartet will blow you away but it ends so quietly. I suggest you listen to the whole opera otherwise you'll miss some other high points, after all there are two dramatic sops & a dramatic mezzo. Nilsson & Rysanek were the best. This is a repeat from a Sirius b'cast from earlier this season. It is great listening. Enjoy.

Feb. 15 2014 12:15 PM
concetta nardone from Nassau

CBC: thanks for your warm thoughts. Yes, this winter is getting to me. No singing of birds and I bet when the snow cleans up, we will find dead kittens in our garden. Looking forward to today's opera, I do not know this one and I do like Strauss. Not looking forward to I Puritani which I call I Puri Cani. Stay well and warm.

Feb. 15 2014 07:21 AM

CBC I hope the snows haven't damaged you. This performance of Frau is complete & uncut so that should be enough to interest you. I was lucky enough to see Nilsson at the Met in "83 as the Dyer's wife. Even at that age she was monumental. Only she would learn one of the most difficult roles as her last new role. This production is eccentric but the music is all that comes out of my radio. Enjoy my good friend and stay well & warm.

Feb. 14 2014 07:58 PM

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