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  • Watch: Semyon Bychkov on how to conduct Die Frau ohne Schatten

Watch: Semyon Bychkov on how to conduct Die Frau ohne Schatten

The conductor on the intricacies of Strauss’s monumental opera, which features an orchestra of over 100.

By Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer)

19 March 2014 at 12.40pm | 3 Comments

Claus Guth’s new production of Die Frau ohne Schatten, conducted by renowned Straussian Semyon Bychkov, had its UK premiere at the Royal Opera House on 14 March.

Starring Emily Magee, Elena Pankratova, Johan ReuterJohan Botha and Michaela Schuster, the production has been lauded by critics and audience alike. Read audience reactions to the opening night.

'Die Frau ohne Schatten is so powerful, but at the same time so full of beauty and so full of tenderness,’ says Semyon. 'It is of such complexity, that no one is able to grasp all of it at the first go, or at the second or at the third.'

The opera requires an enormous orchestra, featuring extensive percussion, an organ, a thunder machine, a wind machine and a glass harmonica, and part of the challenge of the conductor is allowing the intricacies of the score to be heard.

'In Die Frau ohne Schatten you have gigantic forces, and once in a while you do hear how gigantic they are,' says Semyon, 'but a lot of it is very intimate. It is quite astonishing - when you know how many artists are involved - just how tender it can sound; and it is extraordinary that Strauss had a brain that could conceive all of that and a heart to express it.'

Die Frau ohne Schatten runs until 2 April. Tickets are still available.
The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from
Sir Simon and Lady Robertson, Hamish and Sophie Forsyth, The Friends of Covent Garden and an anonymous donor.

By Lottie Butler (Assistant Content Producer)

19 March 2014 at 12.40pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Claus Guth, conductor, Die Frau ohne Schatten, interview, Music, opera, orchestra, Production, Richard Strauss, Semyon Bychkov, The Royal Opera

This article has 3 comments

  1. Sharon Talbot responded on 24 March 2014 at 11:55pm Reply

    Fascinating! Its great to get a glimpse of what seems to have been an extraordinary production. I'd so love to see this rarely performed opera. Is there any chance of a filmed version that could be shown in cinemas around the world? (i.e. NZ ;-)

    • Chris Shipman (Content Producer (Social Media and News)) responded on 25 March 2014 at 10:07am

      Hi Sharon,

      Unfortunately we're not planning on releasing this production at present. Do keep checking back on this blog should this change, however.

      Thanks

      Chris
      ROH Content Producer

  2. Alasdair Malloy responded on 2 April 2014 at 8:46pm Reply

    "The opera requires an enormous orchestra, featuring extensive percussion, an organ, a thunder machine, a wind machine and a glass harmonica, and part of the challenge of the conductor is allowing the intricacies of the score to be heard."

    In this production there is no glass harmonica - instead an electronic substitute has been used despite the increasing numbers of glass harmonica players around.
    It is a terrible shame to deprive the ROH audiences of the real acoustic sound and expressive nature of this instrument, especially when London audiences have already experienced the magical and other-worldy effect it produces in concert performances of this piece.

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