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The Sunday Opera: Richard Strauss' "Die Frau Ohne Schatten"

There are many different types of mothers, and two of them will help us celebrate all mothers on this week’s Sunday Opera (5/10 3:00 p.m.) in Richard Struass’ “Die Frau Ohne Schatten” or “The Woman Without a Shadow.”  This fantasy based on a story and libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal is a fairy tale of sorts about a half-mortal Empress who wants nothing more than to have a child, but in order for that to be, she must obtain a human’s shadow.  Her nurse helps her find a mortal woman, the Dyer’s Wife, who doesn’t want children and is happy to give the Empress her shadow because she feels unloved at home.  Don’t worry, there is a gloriously happy ending for both couples.   

Our performance comes from a historic 1955 recording featuring a stellar cast lead by Leonie Rysanek as the Empress, Hans Hopf as he Emperor, Christel Goltz as the Dyer’s Wife, Paul Schoeffler as Barak, the Dyer, and Elisabeth Hongen as the Nurse.  Karl Bohm conducts the Vienna State Opera Chorus and the Vienna Philharmonic.  We’ll close out the afternoon with more music of Strauss in his wonderful Burleske in D minor for Piano and Orchestra which features an incredibly taxing and impressive piano part.

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.