An outstanding all-Strauss program is provided by Christian Thielemann leading his Wiener Philharmoniker forces, including a recital by star soprano Renee Fleming. Great musicianship abounds, and both sight and sound recording are excellent.
Die Frau Ohne Schatten, is Richard Strauss at the top of his operatic game. Generally cast from strength and well conducted, this Salzburg Festival production is undermined by a bizarre directorial conceptualization.
Deutsche Oper Berlin presents Richard Strauss’s rarely heard Die Liebe Der Danae. This 2011 production is hampered by vocal limitations, mostly dim lighting, and some unusual directorial decisions.
Richard Strauss’ visceral masterpiece, Elektra, is given a superb performance by strong singers and the always magnificent Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the 2010 Salzburg Festival. In spite of a stark set and rather nondescript costumes, this is a very strong and recommendable production.
The biblical account of Salome and her attraction to John the Baptist is transported to 1930’s Germany. The famous Dance of the 7 Veils is considerably downplayed while the elements of sex, sadism, and incest are overplayed. Vocal performances and music direction are generally quite good.