Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 25

Thread: Ranking R. Strauss' operas

  1. #1
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    6,427
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default Ranking R. Strauss' operas

    I know, I know, some of you think that this kind of exercise is silly and futile. It may very well be the case, but I still find it fun, from time to time.

    I just finished watching R. Strauss' Salome, an opera I hadn't seen or heard since 2007. It reminded me of how good it is. Then I was thinking of his other operas, and how most likely Der Rosenkavalier will remain his most popular one. But I don't think it is his best (don't read me wrong, I love it, I just love some of his others even more).

    Here is how I'd rank the ones I know:

    1. Die Frau ohne Schatten
    2. Elektra
    3. Salome
    4. Der Rosenkavalier
    5. Ariadne auf Naxos
    6. Arabella
    7. Capriccio
    8. Daphne
    9. Intermezzo

    My number one is poorly known but for me it's his best, a very underrated masterpiece. The next three are everybody's favorites so no surprises there. The order of these three shows my preference for the more modernist music and tighter dramatic impact of Elektra and Salome over the longer and more uneven Der Rosenkavalier, in spite of the spectacular show stoppers of the latter such as the Presentation of the Rose and the final trio.

    Next, some might be surprised that I rank Ariadne auf Naxos above Arabella, but yes, Ariadne is his ugly duckling but I quite like many parts of it.

    Then Arabella is fine, very enjoyable. Capriccio is less good in my opinion, and boring in parts. Daphne is very beautiful musically but is dramatically weaker (this may have to do with the fact that the production I saw was very bad, maybe if I see another one I'll rank it higher). And Intermezzo in my opinion is a big disaster, it's the only one of the 9 that I don't like.

    Sure, the above has a lot to do with personal taste, but how would you guys (at least those who don't think that this is silly and futile) would rank R. Strauss' operas?

    P.S.: As a reminder, here are his operas that I've never seen/heard, some of them quite obscure - if anybody knows any of the following, please tell me more about them:

    Der Kampf mit dem Drachen (never performed)
    Guntram
    Feuersnot
    Die ägyptische Helena
    Die schweigsame Frau
    Friedenstag
    Die Liebe der Danae
    Des Esels Schatten (orchestrated and completed by Karl Haussner)
    Last edited by Almaviva; Mar-03-2011 at 03:36.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  2. #2
    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    7,496
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    9

    Default

    What of Guntram and Feuersnot?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    6,427
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    What of Guntram and Feuersnot?
    I've just added above the list of those that I don't know. These two I've never heard so I can't rank them. What do you think of them?
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    905
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Here's how I'd rank the ones I know

    1. Ariadne auf Naxos

    Only one I've seen :|
    -Ian

  5. #5
    Senior Member Herkku's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Vantaa, Finland
    Posts
    716
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I eagerly wait for Die schweigsame Frau on DVD!

  6. #6
    Senior Member MAuer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Midwest U.S.
    Posts
    1,613
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    I
    P.S.: As a reminder, here are his operas that I've never seen/heard, some of them quite obscure - if anybody knows any of the following, please tell me more about them:

    Der Kampf mit dem Drachen (never performed)
    Guntram
    Feuersnot
    Die ägyptische Helena
    Die schweigsame Frau
    Friedenstag
    Die Liebe der Danae
    Des Esels Schatten (orchestrated and completed by Karl Haussner)
    I have an old LP recording of "Guntram" dating from the 1980s on the CBS label with Reiner Goldberg in the title role and Ilona Tokody as Duchess Freihild, the heroine. It has since been issued in CD format. Here are the details:
    Release Date:*03/03/2009* Label:* Sony** Catalog #:*7448162** Composer:* Richard Strauss Performer:* Ilona Tokody,* Reiner Goldberg,* Sándor Sólyom-Nagy Conductor:* Eve Queler Orchestra/Ensemble:* Hungarian State Orchestra Number of Discs:*2* Recorded in:*Stereo*

    This opera is pretty much the tenor's show (and at the time, Goldberg was one of my favorite tenors, which is the reason I purchased the recording in the first place). Although the opera itself is fairly short, it appears to be an attempt by Strauss to write in the style of Wagner. Certainly, the heroine's name -- Freihild -- has a Wagnerian ring to it.

    The plot involves a nasty Duke (Freihild's husband) who runs afoul of the knight Guntram when he (the Duke) tries to prevent his wife from aiding the poor and down-trodden. There are the usual twists and turns and complications in the plot until the opera's end, when Guntram, having killed the Duke in self-defense, still renounces Freihild's love because he snuffed out her insufferable husband. If you (a) love Strauss's music or (b) are a fan of Reiner Goldberg, you may want to buy this recording. Otherwise, I'm afraid there isn't much to recommend it.

  7. Likes perempe liked this post
  8. #7
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    6,427
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    I have an old LP recording of "Guntram" dating from the 1980s on the CBS label with Reiner Goldberg in the title role and Ilona Tokody as Duchess Freihild, the heroine. It has since been issued in CD format. Here are the details:
    Release Date:*03/03/2009* Label:* Sony** Catalog #:*7448162** Composer:* Richard Strauss Performer:* Ilona Tokody,* Reiner Goldberg,* Sándor Sólyom-Nagy Conductor:* Eve Queler Orchestra/Ensemble:* Hungarian State Orchestra Number of Discs:*2* Recorded in:*Stereo*

    This opera is pretty much the tenor's show (and at the time, Goldberg was one of my favorite tenors, which is the reason I purchased the recording in the first place). Although the opera itself is fairly short, it appears to be an attempt by Strauss to write in the style of Wagner. Certainly, the heroine's name -- Freihild -- has a Wagnerian ring to it.

    The plot involves a nasty Duke (Freihild's husband) who runs afoul of the knight Guntram when he (the Duke) tries to prevent his wife from aiding the poor and down-trodden. There are the usual twists and turns and complications in the plot until the opera's end, when Guntram, having killed the Duke in self-defense, still renounces Freihild's love because he snuffed out her insufferable husband. If you (a) love Strauss's music or (b) are a fan of Reiner Goldberg, you may want to buy this recording. Otherwise, I'm afraid there isn't much to recommend it.
    Thanks. I'll look into it.
    Apparently Feuersnot is a lot more substantial but was not successful at the time because it was considered to be obscene. R. Strauss knew how to be risque... I'm curious about it.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  9. #8
    Senior Member BalloinMaschera's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    450
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    The Fricke/ Varady/ Weikl recording of Feuersnot ain't bad at all... here is a review from www.arccds.com

    Richard Strauss never forgot or forgave the city of Munich for its rejection of his first opera, "Guntram." He constructed a tombstone memorial to the opera at his villa in Garmisch (it still exists.) He avenged himself on Munich, the city of his birth, by composing the opera "Feuersnot," in which the reactionary burghers of Munich are deprived of fire (the warmth and brightness of creativity) by a noble magician named Kunrad (in reality Richard Strauss). It is a short, ninety-minute work, filled with allegory and inventive music that should enchant lovers of Strauss and modern German music. The libretto, written by Ernst Wolzogen, is a parody of Wagner's "Die Meistersinger" and the Ring Cycle, and Strauss composes some lovely music, creating a pastiche of tunes reminiscent of "Hansel und Gretel," and "Die Meistersinger," and even quoting music from "Das Rheingold," "Eugene Onegin," "Guntram," and Munich street music. Much of Strauss's music for "Feuersnot" looks forward especially to "Der Rosenkavalier" and "Arabella"; but there are also hints of "Die Frau ohne Schatten" and "Capriccio" in it. The lovely waltzes, for example, on band 6 of the first CD, are vintage Strauss; the love duet is reminiscent of "Arabella"; and the finale sounds like early "Die Frau ohne Schatten." Strauss utilizes a huge orchestra, although, as the composer himself admits, the orchestrations are not as developed as in his later work. An enchanting children's chorus runs throughout the opera, beautifully performed by Toelzer Knaben Chor of Munich. I am happy to report that the recording is an excellent one. The CD's evidentally come from a 1985 radio broadcast by Munich Radio. Bernd Weikl, a fine, experienced Wagnerian baritone who has performed many of Strauss's roles, is in glorious voice for the demanding baritone role of Kunrad. Julia Varady is equally excellent as Diemut, a sort of Wagnerian character, who, at first, rejects her lover and then embraces him in the grand finale. Smaller, but important roles, are taken by such singers as Keith Engen, Friedrich Lenz, and Willi Brockmeier, prominent singers from the Bayrische Staatsoper who have sung leading roles since the 1950's. Heinz Fricke conducts a unified and exuberant performance. ARTS was wise to offer the two CD set for the price of one CD, a value to the opera collector. Unfortunately, Wolzogen's libretto that accompanies the set is only in German (actually a wild, Bavarian dialectical pastiche that is almost impossible to translate.) However, the English notes and synopsis by Karl Schumann are well-written and extensive; it is indeed possible to follow the opera after studying Schumann's notes. Unless you travel to Munich during a commemorative festival, you will probably never see "Feuersnot" performed; however, by listening to this fine recording, you will understand the dramatic genius of early Strauss, and hear some delightful music that led up to his more famous operas!

  10. Likes Marschallin Blair liked this post
  11. #9
    sinistro
    Guest

    Default

    Die Frau ohne schatten is the one I prefer,

    Me

  12. #10
    sinistro
    Guest

    Default

    I have Feuersnot...it is not terrific.

    Me

  13. #11
    Senior Member Grosse Fugue's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Chester,UK/Memphis, Tn USA
    Posts
    172
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Only seen three.
    1.Der Rosenkavalier
    2.Salome
    3.Capriccio

    I think 2 is a better opera than 3 although personally I prefer 3 to 2.

  14. #12
    Senior Member Il_Penseroso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Persia
    Posts
    1,617
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Just Salome and Elektra ... the others are some kind of unpleasant dreadfully neo-Classical style which is not my taste at all ...

  15. #13
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Auckland, NZ
    Posts
    5,848
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    D'you know what, I'm not all that keen on Strauss. Too much time spent listening to sopranos, not enough men.

    That said, this is my order:

    Salome
    Arabella
    Rosenkavalier
    Ariadne auf Naxos
    Elektra
    Capriccio (soooo long, I've got tickets for the HD and I'm dreading it a little bit)

    Don't know the others.
    Natalie

  16. #14
    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    6,427
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mamascarlatti View Post
    Capriccio (soooo long, I've got tickets for the HD and I'm dreading it a little bit)
    The HD was OK, Nat; no intermission so it went by pretty fast.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

  17. #15
    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Auckland, NZ
    Posts
    5,848
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    The HD was OK, Nat; no intermission so it went by pretty fast.
    That's good to know - some of those intermissions go on and on.

    So no "smiling ladies", (as my daughter calls Renee, Susan, Debbie et al. Most common question: "so how was it to work with Maestro Levine?) We're also word perfect in the Bloombergs ad.
    Natalie

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Ranking of the 10 major Wagner operas
    By Almaviva in forum Opera
    Replies: 401
    Last Post: Jan-28-2020, 01:41
  2. Richard Strauss : His Alpensinfonie
    By tahnak in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 73
    Last Post: Nov-21-2018, 04:58
  3. List of 100 greatest operas
    By Almaviva in forum Opera
    Replies: 123
    Last Post: Mar-12-2017, 13:42
  4. Spectacular Richard Strauss masterpiece
    By Almaviva in forum Opera
    Replies: 40
    Last Post: Aug-30-2011, 23:05
  5. Replies: 9
    Last Post: Feb-19-2009, 03:37

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •