Magazine article Musical Opinion

Die Liebe der Danae Berlin-Deutsche Oper

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Die Liebe der Danae Berlin-Deutsche Oper

Article excerpt

For those accustomed to the easy flowing, characteristically inspired and transparently orchestrated early Strauss, operas such as Daphne, Friedenstag and Die Liebe der Danae must come as an unwelcome surprise. Middle to late Strauss is very different, his inspiration did not always come to his aid and what is left is an easily recognized sound without the melodies. Capriccio is of course the exception, and Daphne's transfiguration also ranks high, but all these operas suffer from over orchestration or note-spinning as his wife Pauline used to say. Perhaps we should not complain too much and accept his later work as a different type of music, where he was more preoccupied with escapism from a regime which would change everything for him. He was no nazi but he stayed in Germany, he was famous but still had to grovel to Hitler when his letter to Stefan Zweig was intercepted. Strauss only valued talent and unlike the nazis did not care where it came from. Danae is another escapism, in it he does not discuss art as in Capriccio but wishes that people are tolerant with each other; even Jupiter, the most powerful of all Gods has to accept defeat gracefully, promising the happy couple Danae and Midas a shower of gold as a reward, a welcome change from the shower of bombs outside which would destroy his most beloved theatres. We shall meet again in a better world, said Strauss to the orchestra which was playing for the general rehearsal of Danae at the Salzburg Festival in 1944 conducted by Clemens Krauss. Strauss had specifically indicated that Dance was to be premiered two years after the war ended when the public would be more receptive. His memory of what had happened to Die Frau ohne Schatten in Vienna after WWl was still fresh. Krauss persuaded him to stage it in Salzburg in 1944, but after the attempt on Hitler's life on July 20th, Goebbels announced total war, closed all theatres and only a rehearsal with chosen public was allowed in deference to the composer's 80th birthday. …

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