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Thread: R. Strauss Opera fans?

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    Senior Member linz's Avatar
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    Default R. Strauss Opera fans?

    I'm familiar with much of Strauss's symphonic poems as well as Adriane auf Naxos and some of the music of Der Rosenkavalier but have never herd Salome or Elektra. It seems as though with Der Rosenkavalier and the operas after that, Strauss tried to incorporate a more traditional musical language until he blended Mozartian Classical with Wagnerian harmonies. I wonder if anyone has views on their favorite Strauss opera and can help me better elaberate on Strauss's stages as an artist?

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    Senior Member Herkku's Avatar
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    My personal favourite of the Strauss-Hoffmanstahl collaboration is Elektra. The story is, of course, the starkest one you could imagine, after Sophocles. And the opera needs an exceptional singer in the title role. But I realized the beauty of the orchestal score only after having listened to it with headphones! Lately I have enjoyed opera only as DVD:s and the one to have is with Leonie Rysanek as Elektra. She never sang the role on stage but Karl Böhm asked her to do it for the video and what a performance it is! I do have Elektra with Birgit Nilsson (also a DVD) from the Met with Rysanek as her sister, Chrysothemis, for nostalgic reasons, but here Nilsson is definitely past her prime, although still impressive.

    Ariadne auf Naxos comes second in my list. I like the concept of an opera within an opera, and there is so much wonderful music.

    Der Rosenkavalier must come third. The presentation of the rose and the ending are simply fabulous, given good singers. But there is too much general hullabaloo for my taste.

    Die Frau ohne Schatten is quite boring for quite a time, but the ending with singers like Nilsson, Rysanek, King and Berry (the Met, Böhm) is worth waiting, this one on CD only.

    Die Ägyptische Helena has it's moments.

    Salome, if we drop Hoffmanstahl, is very good indeed, the libretto based on Oscar Wilde's play. There has not been been any shortage of good recordings of this one. Nilsson, Caballe, Behrens, Studer skip to mind.

    Die Schweigsame Frau would be interesting. I have heard two recordings of it on CD, but I'm still waiting for something better - perhaps with Natalie Dessay?

    Daphne. I recently saw a performance (back to DVD:s) from La Fenice starring June Andersson and was quite impressed, never having heard her singing in German. Recommended.

    Intermezzo. Strauss wrote the libretto for this himself and as I undestand it's supposed to reflect his personal home life. I have only heard one recording of it, with the late Lucia Popp as the wife. Not bad, but not from the top drawer.

    Capriccio. For some reason I have never enjoyed this one, even with Schwartzkopf or te Kanawa.

    Oh, I completely forgot Arabella! I have never liked it much, either, although it also has it's moments (Der Richtige...).

    I would very much like to hear and see Die Liebe der Danae, but I have never crossed paths with it.

    There are a couple more, but nothing important.

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    Senior Member Chi_townPhilly's Avatar
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    Nice bumpage!

    For further quality discussion of R. Strauss operas, there's this post by top-10 poster
    jhar26, wherein he shared his Strauss opera recordings recommendations.
    The hardest knife ill us'd doth lose his edge. Shakespeare- Sonnet 95

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    Senior Member Herkku's Avatar
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    Well, I'm certainly happy to see that someone else shares my admiration for the Böhm Elektra! It's indeed something quite special, not necessarily for the fainthearted.

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    I've been a huge fan of the Richard Strauss operas for many years, and think the lesser-known ones are very underrated. I've gotten to know these on CD in recent years.
    I wouldn't dismiss any of the 15 out of hand now that I've heard them all.
    For Salome, you can't go wrong with the Solti or Karajan sets, and the Sinopoli and Ozawa ones have their virtues too. Try the classic Decca set from the early 50s conducted by Clemens Krauss, one of the composer's closest associates.
    The Solti Elektra has never been surpassed, but the Sawallisch and Boehm(DG) recordings
    are also very good.
    For Der Rosenkavalier, both Karajan versions,Solti, Ercih Kleiber(father of Carlos) ,are the ones.
    Ariadne auf Naxos : Sinopoli, Karajan,Kempe, Levine, Boehm(live from Salzburg in the 50s).
    Die Frau ohne Schatten :Solti,Sawallsich, Boehm(DG) or Decca if you can find this one.
    Arabella: Solti.Die Aegyptische Helena:Botstein or Dorati. Capriccio: Sawallisch,Boehm or Ulf Schirmer. Also try the Decca Daphne with Renee Fleming and Semyon Bychkov conducting.
    The second Strauss opera Feuersnot(Fire Famine) with Heinz Fricke conducting is a real charmer. I forget the name of the label, but it's not a famous one.

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    Newbies Gloriana's Avatar
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    Count me in. I adore R. Strauss.
    My favs his FOUR LAST SONGS, ELEKTRA ans DER ROSENKAVALIER

    I cannot forget the Kupfer production: http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/...lbum_id=217194
    and i can say that the last MET, Der Rosenkavalier with Fleming, Damrau, Koch was SUPERB!!!!

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    I love Rosenkavalier... I currently sing "Di rigori..." and it fascinates me, because it the whole part of the Italian Singer is so brief, but so hard. It sounds very easy and easy-going, but it is very demandful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herkku View Post
    Capriccio. For some reason I have never enjoyed this one, even with Schwartzkopf or te Kanawa.
    This is the only Strauss opera I have watched and it bored me and was like a very long joke with no punch line. Very disappointing ending.
    Last edited by SixFootScowl; Feb-23-2016 at 13:33.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    This is the only Strauss opera I have watched and it bored me and was like a very long joke with no punch line. Very disappointing ending.
    Thank goodness, if you have to collect al those recordings you would go bankrupt

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    Senior Member SixFootScowl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pugg View Post
    Thank goodness, if you have to collect al those recordings you would go bankrupt
    Right, especially since there are three Renée Fleming performances of it on DVD and none are cheap. I'd be out $75 to $100 for Renée Fleming alone.
    “The media’s the most powerful entity on Earth. They have the power to make the innocent look guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the mind of the masses.”
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    Quote Originally Posted by Florestan View Post
    This is the only Strauss opera I have watched and it bored me and was like a very long joke with no punch line. Very disappointing ending.
    Try Ariadne auf Naxos. It's an opera within an opera and great fun.

    Libretto

    (video takes a while to load)

    Ann

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    There was a time when Richard Strauss was one of my least favorite composers. I was not heavily into opera yet, and his tone poems mostly frustrated me.

    I believe it was seeing Ariadne auf Naxos that converted me; the ridiculous and the sublime, mixed in such a way that both work. Not long after that I realized that Der Rosenkavalier had a similar life to it, that it was a subtler mix of the ridiculous and the sublime.

    At this point Elektra may be my favorite, but I still have a lot to explore. I'm barely familiar with Die Frau ohne Schatten and Arabella, and I could use more time with Salome, too.

    I don't know any of the others at all!

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    Senior Member Bellinilover's Avatar
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    Strauss is my favorite opera composer next to Verdi and Bellini; I can't even put into words how much his music thrills me. And hearing a Strauss opera live is a must, because in my experience even a modern recording can't quite convey the full impact of his orchestral music.

    If there is a "best" opera by Strauss to begin with, I'm going to say it's ELEKTRA.

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    I am quite unfamiliar with Strauss. As far as conventional opera is concerned I am only well acquainted with Wagner and Verdi.

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    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    I like Elektra, Salome and Daphne.
    Elektra is my favourite opera by Richard Strauss it is really great superdramatic and really good music. It has everything an opera should have. Strange that there are so many great operas about Agamemnon and his family.
    Salome not as good as Elektra but it is good anyway.
    Daphne have some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.
    I find the other ones really difficult to listen to.
    Last edited by Sloe; Feb-23-2016 at 23:21.

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