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Already brimming with symbols and transformations, the epic fairytale recounted by Strauss and his librettist Hofmannsthal in Die Frau ohne Schatten acquires a further allegorical dimension in Christoph Loy’s inventive production for the Salzburg Festival. The central character, the Empress – half-spirit, half-human, and unable to bear children until she finds a shadow – here becomes a young soprano who makes a voyage of personal and professional discovery as she records the opera. A superb cast fulfils the complex vocal and dramatic demands of the piece while Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic rise gloriously to the challenges of Strauss’s most ambitious and splendid operatic score.
Premiere recording of this production.
Christian Thielemann’s first opera performance at the Salzburg Festival.
First opera from Salzburg Festival to be released on Opus Arte.
Extra features include 'Christian Thielemann rehearses 'Die Frau Ohne Schatten', and cast gallery.
“Evelyn Herlitzius and Wolfgang Koch inject drama as a couple experiencing marital difficulties...[the Empress] is central throughout, compellingly acted and luminously sung by the marvellous Anne Schwanewilms...Holding it all together are the clearly articulated text and a magic carpet of sound that's down with assurance by Christian Thielemann...Orchestral detail has tremendous clarity and the documentary extra includes pithy insights from cast and crew”
“Loy's Personregie works well for nearly every singer...The VPO under Christian Thielemann is impeccable...[Thielemann] brings a perceptive though-line to this vast structure, and he cares as much about intimacy as about grandeur...The stand-out onstage is Michaela Schuster (Nurse), vocally magnificent and revelling in her characterization...Schwanewilms's Empress embodies dignified feminine beauty and dignity...her pristine timbre eminently suits the role.”
“As an exercise in demonstrating a director’s power, it’s strangely impressive; as a way of experiencing the opera, it’s persistently, excruciatingly frustrating.”
9th July 2012
“This production doesn’t actually stage the plot of the opera as such, but rather presents it as a series of recording sessions...It does make for an extremely static experience...Fortunately, though, the singing is consistently magnificent, and so you can just revel in a marvellous performance of one of Strauss’s most colourful scores.”
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