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'Die Frau ohne Schatten'
from the Bavarian State Opera -
reviewed by
ROBERT ANDERSON

'It is evident that Sawallisch loves the work.'

Richard Strauss: Die Frau ohne Schatten. © 2007 TDK Marketing Europe GmbH

Kaikobad, father of Strauss's Empress, lives somewhere among the Seven Moon Mountains; her husband is Emperor of the South Eastern Islands. So the Bavarian State Opera, rather than stick around in the comparatively humdrum EU-ridden Munich, has magically transferred itself to Nagoya in Japan, kitted itself out in Japanese costumes, and adopted whatever Japanese gestures may be appropriate to this oddest of Strauss's productions. On stage Ennosuke Ichikawa has masterminded the translation to the Far East. Clearly he is as nonplussed as Strauss by much of Hofmannsthal's libretto. When at a complete loss what his abstruse colleague is up to, Strauss simply gathers his magnificent orchestra about him and lets rip; Ichikawa shuts his eyes, blacks out the stage, and suggests we just listen.

Members of the Bavarian State Opera Chorus. DVD screenshot © 1992 Bayerische Staatsoper
Members of the Bavarian State Opera Chorus. DVD screenshot © 1992 Bayerische Staatsoper

 

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Copyright © 24 June 2007 Robert Anderson, London UK

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