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  • The A-Z of Richard Strauss: E is for Esel

The A-Z of Richard Strauss: E is for Esel

A donkey ('Esel' in German) was the leftfield subject of Strauss's comic final opera, Des Esels Schatten.



By Gavin Plumley (Guest author. Classical music blogger)

11 March 2014 at 12.36pm | Comment on this article

The last opera Richard Strauss worked on is called Des Esels Schatten (The Donkey’s Shadow).

It was a comic opera, not intended for the grand companies of BerlinMunich or Vienna, with which Strauss's professional career had been associated, but for his grandson Christian’s school. Sadly Strauss died in 1949 before he could finish his tale, based on a satirical story by Christoph Martin Wieland of a hapless donkey whose shadow provides shelter from the sun for a Greek dentist. The sketches were later expanded, completed and orchestrated by Karl Haussner and the opera was performed in 1964 in Christian Strauss’s former school to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of his grandfather, whose 150th birthday we mark this year.

View other posts in our weekly Richard Strauss A-Z series

2014 sees the 150th anniversary of Richard Strauss’s birth. The composer will be celebrated at the ROH with stagings of Die Frau ohne Schatten (14 March-2 April) and Ariadne auf Naxos (25 June-13 July). Tickets for both are still available.

 

By Gavin Plumley (Guest author. Classical music blogger)

11 March 2014 at 12.36pm

This article has been categorised Music and tagged animal, Des Esels Schatten, donkey, history, Richard Strauss, Strauss 150, Strauss A-Z

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