All tagged Richard Strauss
Engelbert Humperdinck was born in 1854 and was recognised as a disciple of Wagner. His most famous composition was the opera Hansel and Gretel, which had its World Premiere in Weimar, Germany in 1893, under the baton of Richard Strauss. It was an overwhelming success and even to this day, the sugar-coated musical sounds are sweet to the ear.
This is the last opera written by Richard Strauss, with a German libretto by Clemens Krauss and is unlike any of his other operas. It is more like a ‘conversation piece for music’ where the Countess has two suitors, Flamand and Olivier, representing music and words. That is the context of the arguments and discussions that run throughout this opera. The question is, what is more important, Music or Word - or should it be Word or Music - and which one of the suitors will take precedence in the heart of the Countess?
If this is how the Royal Opera House is starting 2018, then we are in for a vintage year.
Oscar Wilde’s original French play Salome, translated into German all in one Act, is just under 2 hours of intense brutality and unyielding musical brilliance, built on a theme of eroticism and murder. It was first performed in Dresden in 1905 and Gustav Mahler himself wanted to conduct the opera in Vienna, but in fact the censors refused consent and did not relent until 1918. It was initially banned in London until performed at Covent Garden under the baton of Thomas Beecham in 1910.