'Die Frau ohne Schatten'
from the Bavarian State Opera -
'It is evident that Sawallisch loves the work.'
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
Copyright © 24 June 2007
Robert Anderson, London UK