24 March 2014 at 11.57am | 2 Comments
The Royal Opera’s production of Richard Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten,which has been described by critics as ‘musically exceptional’, will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 on 29 March at 5.50pm.
Claus Guth’s new production had its UK premiere on 14 March. Conducted by Semyon Bychkov, the production stars Johan Botha, Emily Magee, Elena Pankratova, Johan Reuter and Michaela Schuster. Read audience reactions to the opening night.
Elena Pankratova as Barak's wife, Hubert Francis as Hunchback Brother, Adrian Clarke as One-Eyed Brother, Jeremy White as One-Armed Brother and Emily Magee as the Empress in Die Frau ohne Schatten © ROH / Clive Barda 2014
Die Frau ohne Schatten requires an enormous orchestra, featuring extensive percussion, an organ, a thunder machine, a wind machine and a glass harmonica. The score is immensely rich and varied; and includes some exquisitely delicate music. Watch an interview with Semyon Bychkov about conducting the piece.
Throughout the opera, Strauss employs an array of musical motifs, as well as off-stage voices to add to the sinister atmosphere. Find out more about the haunting ‘Falcon’ motif that features in the score.
Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal envisaged the opera as a fairytale with a strong moral and spiritual dimension. Although largely Hofmannsthal's own creation, the narrative takes inspiration from a range of sources, from The Arabian Nights to Grimm’s Fairy Tales to Goethe's Faust.
The opera tells the story of an Empress, a supernatural being who does not cast a shadow. When told that if she does not acquire a shadow in three days she will be returned to the spirit world and her husband the Emperor turned to stone, she embarks on a quest to find a shadow.
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.