Die Frau ohne Schatten

Your 'hot spot' for all classical music subjects. Non-classical music subjects are to be posted in the Corner Pub.

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
John F
Posts: 19745
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by John F » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:28 pm

Looking for something else, I happened on a complete performance of Strauss's opera at the Mariinsky Theater conducted by Valery Gergiev. It's not an all-star cast but members of the Mariinsky's ensemble, so the singing isn't glamorous but it's eommitted and expressive. The orchestra's playing is magnificent, and Gergiev's ideas about the music, though different from Karl Böhm's, are if anything even more powerful. It's here:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-p6jiSLMavk

Yes, there are washing machines in Barak's home/workplace. His work is as a dyer of fabrics, after all. I think the production is appropriate and meaningful. As for the opera, I have problems with the music of Act 3, and the turning point of the story, when Barak's wife submits to him when he threatens to kill her, just won't do in this day and age. But I still had to watch and listen to the end.
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 1252
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by Belle » Wed Jul 04, 2018 7:25 pm

Thanks for this. The opera was on when I was in Vienna 3 years ago and I didn't get to see it; signs all over the U-Tube stations and everywhere, but we were leaving. I'll watch this production and take note of your comments.

John F
Posts: 19745
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by John F » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:11 pm

Good luck with figuring out what's going on. :) It's not the production but Hofmannsthal's libretto that's at fault; even with the accurate English subtitles and a production faithful to the opera, you may find it useful to read the synopsis on Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Frau_ ... n#Synopsis
John Francis

Belle
Posts: 1252
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by Belle » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:27 am

Oh, but look at me!! U-Tube station when clearly it's U-Bahn!! Freudian slip.

lennygoran
Posts: 13846
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:08 am

John F wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:28 pm
Yes, there are washing machines in Barak's home/workplace.
I have fond memories of seeing it at the Met-I recall Barak reaching into a refrigerator for a beer. My hallmark calendar indicates there might have been a forum dinner-I have the names Susi, Seth, Karen with question marks next to their names? I think this may be one where we were supposed to get Thomas Moser as the prince but could be off on that? Regards, Len

Metropolitan Opera House
December 21, 2001


DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN {45}
R. Strauss-Hofmannsthal

Empress.................Deborah Voigt
Emperor.................John Horton Murray
Dyer's Wife.............Gabriele Schnaut
Barak...................Wolfgang Brendel
Nurse...................Reinhild Runkel
Messenger...............Eike Wilm Schulte
Falcon..................Julia Faulkner
Hunchback...............Allan Glassman
One-Eyed................Timothy Nolen
One-Armed...............James Courtney
Servant.................Lyubov Petrova
Servant.................Yvonne Gonzales Redman
Servant.................Sandra Piques Eddy
Apparition..............Mark Schowalter
Unborn..................Angela Gilbert
Unborn..................Lyubov Petrova
Unborn..................Beverly O'Regan Thiele
Unborn..................Jennifer Check
Unborn..................Jane Shaulis
Unborn..................Diane Elias
Watchman................Richard Fracker
Watchman................Franco Pomponi
Watchman................Kamel Boutros
Voice...................Jane Bunnell
Guardian................Jennifer Welch-Babidge
Falcon Mime.............Erico Villanueva
Violin Solo.............David Chan
Cello Solo..............Rafael Figueroa

Conductor...............Christian Thieleman

Production..............Herbert Wernicke
Designer................Herbert Wernicke
Lighting designer.......Herbert Wernicke

lennygoran
Posts: 13846
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:36 am

lennygoran wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:08 am
I have fond memories of seeing it at the Met-... we were supposed to get Thomas Moser as the prince but could be off on that? Regards, Len
Len your memory is faulty-you thought you had seen him do it--you forgot you went back to see it with him Jan 17, 2002! Regards, Len

[Met Performance] CID:350237
Die Frau ohne Schatten {49} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/08/2002.


Metropolitan Opera House
January 8, 2002


DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN {49}
R. Strauss-Hofmannsthal

Empress.................Deborah Voigt
Emperor.................Thomas Moser
Dyer's Wife.............Gabriele Schnaut
Barak...................Wolfgang Brendel
Nurse...................Reinhild Runkel
Messenger...............Eike Wilm Schulte
Falcon..................Julia Faulkner
Hunchback...............Allan Glassman
One-Eyed................Timothy Nolen
One-Armed...............James Courtney
Servant.................Lyubov Petrova
Servant.................Yvonne Gonzales Redman
Servant.................Sandra Piques Eddy
Apparition..............Mark Schowalter
Unborn..................Angela Gilbert
Unborn..................Lyubov Petrova
Unborn..................Beverly O'Regan Thiele
Unborn..................Jennifer Check
Unborn..................Jane Shaulis
Unborn..................Diane Elias
Watchman................Richard Fracker
Watchman................Franco Pomponi
Watchman................Kamel Boutros
Voice...................Jane Bunnell
Guardian................Jennifer Welch-Babidge
Falcon Mime.............Erico Villanueva
Violin Solo.............David Chan
Cello Solo..............Rafael Figueroa

Conductor...............Christian Thielemann

Production..............Herbert Wernicke
Designer................Herbert Wernicke
Lghting designer.......Herbert Wernicke

John F
Posts: 19745
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by John F » Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:51 am

Murray took several performances in 2001-2 - I believe they were scheduled with him, probably to get him to cover Moser for the other performances just in case.

That production wasn't very satisfactory; it's too bad you didn't see the Met's previous/first one by Nathaniel Merrill and Robert O'Hearn which was truly spectacular and met the requirements of the opera much better. It also had the premium cast for the opera in those days, Leonie Rysanek, James King, Christa Ludwig, and Walter Berry, with Karl Böhm conducting. But I'm sure the Met's orchestra didn't play as well back in 1966 as it was able to in 2001..
John Francis

lennygoran
Posts: 13846
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 pm
Location: new york city

Re: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by lennygoran » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:18 am

John F wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:51 am
it's too bad you didn't see the Met's previous/first one by Nathaniel Merrill and Robert O'Hearn which was truly spectacular and met the requirements of the opera much better. It also had the premium cast for the opera in those days, Leonie Rysanek, James King, Christa Ludwig, and Walter Berry, with Karl Böhm conducting. But I'm sure the Met's orchestra didn't play as well back in 1966 as it was able to in 2001..
Wow that sounds like a winner afaiac! Regards, Len

Review/Opera; Soprano Makes Unexpected Met Debut in 'Frau'

By DONAL HENAHAN


''Die Frau Ohne Schatten,'' the seventh of Richard Strauss's 15 operas, did not arrive at the Metropolitan Opera until 1966, but it turned out to be one of the sensations of that first Lincoln Center season. The Nathaniel Merrill-Robert O'Hearn production, the most lavish and mechanically intricate in the Metropolitan's history up to that moment, flabbergasted nearly everyone. And yet the premiere's cast was anything but overshadowed by such visual munificence. How could it have been, considering the names involved: Christa Ludwig, Leonie Rysanek, James King and Walter Berry, with Karl Bohm in the pit.

With the production's history in mind, one did not expect great things of ''Frau'' when it returned to the repertory on Monday evening. The cast looked weak, perhaps fatally so, and prospects did not brighten when it was revealed that the scheduled Empress, Mechthild Gessendorf, had been lost to flu and would be replaced by Ruth Falcon, a Met debutante.

The performance, however, proved several things. First, that Miss Falcon is a soprano to reckon with. Second, that Strauss's score, when played as radiantly as it was under Christof Perick's baton, can make a strong impact on its own. Miss Falcon's robust and glistening voice easily pierced the lushest orchestration. If her ''woman without a shadow'' was sketchily drawn compared to Miss Rysanek's tortured portrayal - the model for her generation, - it offered compensations. Miss Falcon's stately acting at least gave no offense and her strength lay in firmly produced, unwavering high notes of a kind peculiar to Strauss operas.

''Die Frau'' does not appeal to all tastes. It is totally without humor, despite Hugo von Hofmannsthal's belief that his libretto would be a modern equivalent of Mozart's ''Magic Flute.'' Its symbols are depressingly crude. Nor is the opera exactly a pro-feminist screed. An upper-world Empress who is sterile, apparently because she began life as a gazelle, finds a lower-class woman who does not want to have children and bargains for her shadow, the symbol of her fertility. Things work out happily for both women, but large questions remain. How, for instance, do we know that it was the Empress who was sterile, not the Emperor? We don't. Such problems can be ducked in opera, which is one of its allures.

Despite what devout Straussians might justly contend were modest talents in other leading parts, an unpromising Met performance cohered and ultimately persuaded. Helga Dernesch no longer commands the upper range of the Nurse, but she gave a vocally crafty, dramatically taut performance. Marilyn Zschau, in the key role of the Dyer's wife, worked hard, pushing her soprano to its limits in meeting Strauss's neo-Wagnerian demands. But hard-toned loudness was too often the result. Robert Schunk's Emperor showed a large, strenuously produced tenor that lacked nuance and dramatic involvement. Bernd Weikl, as the Dyer, ably conveyed Barak's Wozzeck-like lumpiness, but that is only half of the challenge. Offstage voices were heavily amplified, so no sensible comment on them is possible.

Mr. O'Hearn's elaborate sets, costumes and projections now strike one as a little tinselly at times but they continue to evoke the fairy-tale mood of the convoluted libretto. The imperial upper world, all icy blues and greens, contrasts sharply with the earthy red-brown tones of the Dyer's house. Stage elevators smoothly shift the scenery without arousing the audience to applause, as happens nowadays at the Met whenever a set or a prop stirs in any direction. To a great extent, this laudable restraint owed to the seamless nature of Strauss's score and to mesmerizing playing by the virtuosic orchestra. Some things do improve at the Met: the pit band of the premiere 23 years ago simply did not play this well. Especially worth noting in this performance were the many dangerously exposed solos, like the sweetly singing cello in the intermezzo between the first and second scenes of Act II. THE CAST - DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN, opera in three acts by Richard Strauss, libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal; conductor, Christof Perick; stage director, Bruce Donnell; production by Nathaniel Merrill; sets, costumes and projections by Robert O'Hearn; lighting by Gil Wechsler. At the Metropolitan Opera House. Empress...Ruth Falcon Dyer's Wife...Marilyn Zschau Nurse...Helga Dernesch Emperor...Robert Schunk Barak...Bernd Weikl The Falcon...Kaaren Erickson Messenger of Keikobad...Franz Mazura The One-eyed...Russell Christopher The One-armed...James Courtney The Hunchback...Richard Fracker Threshold Guardian...Heidi Grant Voice from Above...Gweneth Bean Apparition of Young Man...Mark W. Baker Servants...Heidi Grant, Joyce Guyer, Sondra Kelly Voices of the Unborn...Dawn Kotoski, Joyce Guyer, Loretta Di Franco, Ariel Bybee, Sondra Kelly, Claudia Catania Watchmen...Charles Anthony, Motti Kaston, Philip Cokorinos

https://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/15/arts ... -frau.html

Image

maestrob
Posts: 5462
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 11:30 am

Re: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by maestrob » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:12 pm

I'm not making this up dept.........

The German conductor Christopher Perick's name was Anglicized from the original German (Pr*ck) for obvious reasons (or so I was told).... :lol:

John F
Posts: 19745
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by John F » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:18 pm

The Canadian tenor Jon Vickers's name was changed to Wickers in Austria and Germany for the same reason. And the role of Pinkerton in "Madama Butterfly" is Linkerton in the German-speaking world. Seems the Germans are sensitive about these things.

Vickers could have been an outstanding Emperor in "Frau ohne Schatten," but either he wasn't asked or he wasn't interested. It's not that rewarding a role for the effort the singer has to put into it.
John Francis

John F
Posts: 19745
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 4:41 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by John F » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:35 pm

This DVD is published on the Mariinsky Theater's own label, distributed here by LSO Live. I see that they have brought out many live performance videos: Rimsky-Korsakov's "Tale of Tsar Saltan" and "Golden Cockerel," Prokofiev's "Semyon Kotko" and "The Gambler," Verdi's "Attila," Shchedrin's new opera "The Left-Hander," Prokofiev's ballets "Romeo and Juliet" and "Cinderella," and Balanchine's "Jewels," all conducted by Gergiev.

https://mariinskylabel.com/collections/blu-rays

The prices are all quite low, £19.99 and lower. Since Philips has long since ceased making Mariinsky Theater recordings, these self-published DVDs are specially welcome.
John Francis

THEHORN
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:57 am

Re: Die Frau ohne Schatten

Post by THEHORN » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:49 pm

In the story, the reason why the empress cannot have children is because she is half human, and half member of the non-human spirit world . Her husband's fertility is not in question .
In the end, her father Keikobad , ruler of the spirit world, grants her full humanity so she will be able to bear children .

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 22 guests