Opera: Bright Shadow

Palace and hovel, ships, torches, caves, rocky passes, thunderstorms, primeval forest, a chorus of "unborn children." The whole idea for a new opera called Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman Without a Shadow) so excited Richard Strauss that he wanted to be gin composing right on the spot. That was in 1911. It was eight years, however, before the shadow became a reality, and then, despite wide critical acclaim, it was 40 years more before it was staged in the U.S. Trouble was, with all those ships and rocky passes, the technical demands of the fanciful libretto were more...

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