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  • The A-Z of Richard Strauss: T is for Tenor

The A-Z of Richard Strauss: T is for Tenor

The composer was less than generous to opera's traditional heroes in his writing, and couldn't resist mocking Puccini's tenorific tropes.

By Gavin Plumley (Guest author. Classical music blogger)

23 June 2014 at 12.54pm | Comment on this article

Richard Strauss had a natural affinity for the soprano voice, unsurprising, given his wife Pauline de Ahna’s talents, but he has often been accused of lack of generosity towards tenors.

Herod’s vocal lines in Salome are particularly cruel, if fittingly exaggerated, which was a trend Strauss continued in Elektra with the brief appearance of Klytämnestra’s lover Aegisth. In Der Rosenkavalier, Strauss sends up his contemporary Puccini’s favouring of the tenor voice during the Italian tenor’s aria in Act I.

However, this year, The Royal Opera performs two Strauss operas which feature extraordinary parts for tenors – the Emperor in Die Frau ohne Schatten and Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos – for whom Strauss provides some of his most ardent melodies.

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

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

By Gavin Plumley (Guest author. Classical music blogger)

23 June 2014 at 12.54pm

This article has been categorised Music and tagged Ariadne auf Naxos, by Christof Loy, Production, Richard Strauss, Strauss A-Z, tenor, voice

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