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Richard Strauss (1864 - 1949)

Rafal Olbinski


Richard Strauss (June 11, 1864 – September 8, 1949) was a German composer of classical music particularly noted for his tone poems and operas. He was also a noted conductor. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Strauss [Apr 2005]

Succès de scandale

Richard Strauss had had few success with his first two operas (which are never performed any more today), so he tried something different: he set music to Wilde's Salomé in 1905, and racketed quite some scandal with this opera, including in the New York Met, where the production had to be closed after one night. But Strauss wanted more: his next opera (Elektra - 1909) was so "noisy" that cartoons appeared with Strauss directing an orchestra of animals. Then Hugo von Hoffmansthal, the textwriter of this second "successful" production, seems to have taken the right decision, in refraining Strauss from getting ever more bold: Strauss's success was guaranteed without any further scandal, so Von Hoffmansthal wrote a bittersweet scenario with a theme of resigning to the fact of getting older, for Strauss's next (and after all most successful) opera. Only two world wars later Strauss would get involved in scandal again, for his way of realising what was then considered as the highest ambition: directing the Bayreuther Festspiele (which had involved sucking up to the Nazi regime). Here, however, scandal came after the success, which is more annoying. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Succ%E8s_de_scandale [Oct 2004]

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