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Richard Strauss Die Frau ohne Schatten

Opera in three acts, Op. 65
Text by Hugo von Hofmannsthal

New production
In German with German and English surtitles

End of performance approx. 10.30 p.m.


  • 29 July 2011, 18:00


  • 01 August 2011, 18:00
  • 04 August 2011, 18:00
  • 11 August 2011, 18:00
  • 14 August 2011, 18:00
  • 17 August 2011, 18:00
  • 21 August 2011, 18:00

Print programme (PDF)


Christian Thielemann, Conductor
Christof Loy, Stage Director
Johannes Leiacker, Set Design
Ursula Renzenbrink, Costume Design
Stefan Bolliger, Lighting design
Thomas Jonigk, Dramaturgy
Thomas Wilhelm, Choreography
Thomas Lang, Chorus Master


Stephen Gould, The Emperor
Anne Schwanewilms, The Empress
Michaela Schuster, The Nurse
Wolfgang Koch, Barak, the Dyer
Evelyn Herlitzius, His Wife
Markus Brück, The One-Eyed
Steven Humes, The One-Armed
Andreas Conrad, The Hunchback
Thomas Johannes Mayer, The Spirit Messenger
Rachel Frenkel, The Voice of the Falcon
Peter Sonn, The Apparition of a Youth
Christina Landshamer, A Guardian of the Threshold of the Temple
Maria Radner, A Voice from Above
Christina Landshamer, First Servant
Lenneke Ruiten, Second Servant
Martina Mikelić, Third Servant
Hanna Herfurtner, Christina Landshamer, Lenneke Ruiten, Rachel Frenkel, Martina Mikelić, Maria Radner, Solo Voices / Voices of Unborn Children
Albin Frahamer, Daniel Heck, Philipp Kranjc, Paul Krook, Vivien Löschner, Sabine Muhar, Christoph Quest, Barbara Spitz, Klaus Wetzlinger, Peter Wurzer, Actors
Maria Gruber, Christina Kantsel, Liliya Markina, Julia Rath, Andrea Schalk, Marena Weller, Chorus Girls
Ben Badura, Kim Viviane Binding, Felix David, Elias Kurzmann, Gabriel Paulus, Lukas Parandian, Leoni Ruhland, Sophia Ruhland, Jonathan Seißler, Children Staff

Christa Schönfeldinger, Glass Harmonica
Members of the Angelika Prokopp Sommerakademie of the Vienna Philharmonic, Stage Music
Concert Association of the Vienna State Opera Chorus
Salzburger Festspiele und Theater Kinderchor
Vienna Philharmonic


During World War I, shortly before the Austrian monarchy disintegrated, Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal worked on an opera for Vienna, in which an Emperor and an Empress are among the main protagonists. She is unable to bear him children, and invisible powers demand of her to destroy the marriage of another couple in order to become fertile. The opera, which ends with the utopia that the Empress defies the dark powers and finds the strength to determine her own fate, had its world premiere when Austria no longer had an Emperor.
The work, which is so much about the responsibility for born and unborn life, was reinstated as early as 1955 on the Vienna Opera schedule by Karl Böhm. A new generation of singers confronted old stars who were tainted with the shadows of the past. Böhm managed to persuade the ensemble and DECCA to produce the first audio recording of the monumental work without fees and in the midst of winter, in unheated rooms. An epoch-making event which testifies to the human need for art and the human longing for creative expression – independent of opulence, money, past or audience. An event that has inspired me to direct Die Frau ohne Schatten.

Christof Loy