Music: San Francisco's Pennant

"I realized," said Richard Strauss of the Meisterwerk of his middle age, "that the opera would never have much success." He was speaking of Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman Without a Shadow), the huge complex of mythology and symbolism that he constructed with Librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal during World War I. Strauss guessed correctly: since its premiere in Vienna in 1919, the work has rarely been staged in Europe and never in the U.S. Last week Die Frau finally appeared on a U.S. stage in a San Francisco Opera production that made cheering audiences wonder where she had been for...

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