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Die Frau ohne Schatten

on October 10, 2019
This is the page for the performance on October 10, 2019.
Music Richard Strauss

Cast 10.10.2019

Conductor Christian Thielemann
Director Vincent Huguet
Stage Design Aurélie Maestre
Costume Design Clémence Pernoud
Licht und Video Bertrand Couderc
Dramaturge Louis Geisler
Der Kaiser Stephen Gould
Die Kaiserin Camilla Nylund
Die Amme Mihoko Fujimura
Geisterbote Clemens Unterreiner
Barak Tomasz Konieczny
Sein Weib Nina Stemme
Hüter der Schwelle des Tempels Daniela Fally
Stimme eine Jünglings Jörg Schneider
Stimme des Falken Maria Nazarova
Stimme von oben Monika Bohinec
Der Einäugige Rafael Fingerlos
Der Einarmige Marcus Pelz
Der Bucklige Michael Laurenz
1. Dienerin Ileana Tonca
2. Dienerin Valeriia Savinskaia
3. Dienerin Szilvia Vörös
1. Stimme der Ungeborenen Ileana Tonca
2. Stimme der Ungeborenen Valeriia Savinskaia
3. Stimme der Ungeborenen Stephanie Houtzeel
4. Stimme der Ungeborenen Szilvia Vörös
5. Stimme der Ungeborenen Bongiwe Nakani
1. Solostimme Ileana Tonca
2. Solostimme Valeriia Savinskaia
3. Solostimme Stephanie Houtzeel
4. Solostimme Szilvia Vörös
5. Solostimme Bongiwe Nakani
6. Solostimme Monika Bohinec


In the enchanting opera »Die Frau ohne Schatten«, Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal pose the simple yet profound question of a meaningful life: Should one's own personal happiness be at the center, or should empathy for others take precedence? To find the answer, the authors subject their stage characters to trials. The concept of the shadow symbolizes humanity. In the happy ending, resounding cheers exclaim, »Now I want to rejoice like no one has rejoiced!«

Not too many significant masterpieces were premiered at the House am Ring. However, Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal's fourth collaborative opera, »Die Frau ohne Schatten« (The Woman Without a Shadow), is one of the few exceptions in this regard. On October 10, 1919, the work, which Strauss considered »the last romantic opera,« saw the light of day at the Vienna State Opera and has since become a fixed part of international repertoires. During their collaboration, the composer expressed his admiration for the libretto: »Incredibly noble, magnificent, mature, and interesting, with splendid dramatic and moral problems, magnificent scenic events.« Musically and in terms of music dramaturgy, Strauss drew on ideas from Richard Wagner and continued them in his own way. As for the magical fairy-tale ambiance and the trials imposed on the heroes, Mozart's »The Magic Flute« served as an inspiration.

Program booklet (2,50€)



While out hunting, the Emperor shoots a gazelle. She is transformed into a young woman; he falls in love with her and marries her. She is the daughter of the Spirit King Keikobad. However, she must cast a shadow within twelve months or the Emperor will turn to stone and the Empress will have to return to her father. Finally, there are just three days left.


The Emperor is unaware of the impending danger and leaves to go hunting again. Accompanied by the Nurse, the Empress secretly sets off for the human world in order to acquire a shadow. They stop at the home of the Dyer, Barak, and his Wife. The couple live in poverty with Barak’s brothers; they have no children. The Dyer‘s Wife, dissatisfied with her life and her husband, allows herself to be seduced by the promise of riches and is willing to surrender her shadow to the Empress. But if she does this, the Dyer’s Wife will never become a mother. Initially she desires a handsome young man, conjured up by the Nurse, but her conscience prevents her from actually betraying Barak, who loves her more than anything else. Troubled, she confesses to him what has happened. For Barak, whose sole goal in life is attaining the happiness of a large, close-knit family, his world collapses. He feels a desire to commit murder. At that moment, their world is swallowed up, and the two find themselves separated, in a stone vault. The couple are overcome by remorse, they once again confess their love for each other. For his part, the Emperor believes that the Empress has been unfaithful to him and wishes her dead. However, even in his wrath he cannot kill his wife. The Empress realizes that she can only attain happiness through the misfortune of others – of Barak and his Wife. She decides against her own well-being and does not drink the magic water that will secure her the shadow of the Dyer’s Wife and save the Emperor from being turned to stone. She has passed the trial to become human, as she has now shown empathy and compassion for others and placed her own personal happiness after that of others. In becoming human she has acquired a shadow – and the Emperor, whom she loves, is saved, as are the Dyer and his Wife. The triumphant closing exultation is softly echoed by the voices of the (as yet)

Unborn Children:
Father, nothing threatens you,
See, Mother, the terror
That led you astray
Is already receding.
Was there ever a feast
Where in secret
We were both the guests
And also the Hosts?


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