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The Sunday Opera: Richard Strauss' "Capriccio"

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Richard Strauss is the featured composer on this week’s Sunday Opera (3/28 3:00 p.m.) and his final opera, “Capriccio,” completed when he was 77-years-old in 1941.  This highly conversational work looks at the merits of music compared to poetry through the dilemma faced by a widowed countess who is in love with both a composer and a poet but can’t choose between them.   In this recording from 1993, you’ll hear Kiri Te Kanawa in her much heralded performance as the Countess.  Joining her are Uwe Heilmann as the composer Flamand and Olaf Bar as the poet Olivier.   Other members of the cast include Hakan Hagegard, Victor von Halem, Brigitte Fassbaender, and Werner Hollweg.   Ulf Schirmer conducts the Vienna Philharmonic. 

The opera to which we’ll listen in one act as Strauss intended will be followed by more of his music including the charming “sequel” to his epic Ein Heldenleben entitled Symphonia Domestica which looks at the Hero in his idyllic home complete with wife and child.   Also scheduled is his tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra which was based on a novel by Friedrich Nietzsche and which is mainly known for its first movement “morning.”