Arabella , Richard Strauss, at the Theatre Royal

Lyrical comedy en tres actos
Music by Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
Libreto de Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Premiered at the Sächsisches Staatstheater in Dresden on 1 July 1933
Premiere at the Royal Theater
New production of Teatro Real, from the Oper Frankfurt
D. musical: David Afkham
D. scene: Christof Loy
Escenógrafo y costume: Herbert Murauer
illuminator: Reinhard Traub
Choreographer: Thomas Wilhelm
D. from the choir: Andrés Máspero
Distribution: Sara Jakubiak, Sarah Defrise, Anne Sofie von Otter, Josef Wagner, Sarah Defrise, Matthew Newlin, Dean Power, Roger Smith, Tyler Zimmerman, Elena Sancho Pereg, Barbara Zechmeister, It is essential to understand the musical language itself used by, Benjamin Werth, Niall Fallon, They have Jusek
Headlines Choir and Orchestra of the Teatro Real

"I would like a second Knight of the Rose, without its errors or its length.” This is how Richard Strauss addressed his librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, in a letter he sent to her in September 1922. This would be the sixth and last collaboration between the two.

everything starts, after some small initial disagreement, With the shipping, por parte de Hofmannsthal a Strauss, of a project that I had published in 1910, shiner. The story that is narrated here will be the germ of Arabella.

In December 1924 the composer receives the first draft of the libretto that he had commissioned. With the title Mandryka, who is the suitor of the protagonist Arabella. Strauss is convinced by the story, but not the title of the work. Influenced by the success of the knight of the rose, he wanted the main character to have more presence and decides to change it, renamed Arabella.

While they were putting the finishing touches on the script, Hofmannsthal suffers a stroke and dies a few days later. Strauss is very impressed by the death of his collaborator and abandons the composition of this opera. it won't be until 1931 when, together with his friend and conductor Clemens Krauss, pick up the score and finish it. In homage to its librettist, Strauss decides to leave the second and third acts of the libretto as they are., that they had not had time to polish.

The score ends in 1932 and its premiere is scheduled for the following year.. But in 1933 Hitler is proclaimed chancellor and by then the anti-Semitic laws have already begun to be applied. This affects the premiere of Arabella, since the director of the theater, that he was jewish, y Freud Woods, who was going to direct the play, protest the implementation of these laws. Due, They were suddenly dismissed from their posts.. Strauss was then opposed to the premiere of his opera but, bound by contract, he had to reach an agreement and agreed to its premiere in exchange for choosing the entire cast himself, starting with its musical director who would be Clemens Krauss. Finally released 1 July 1933, to great critical acclaim, but with a certain coldness on the part of the public.

Yes in The Knight of the Rose, Strauss had described the decline of the eighteenth century, in Arabella describes the 19th century. Set the action in the Vienna of 1860, in a society that lives on appearances and on which the composer exercises harsh criticism. One of those high society families, ruined and decadent, is the protagonist of the story. Count Waldner, with his wife Adelaide and their two daughters, Arabella and Zdenka, they live in a hotel that they can barely afford. The little one of the sisters, Zdemka, she is forced to dress up as a boy, since they only have a dowry for one of them and only that can finance their attendance at the most exquisite parties and circles in Vienna. They decide to invest their few resources so that Arabella looks for a suitor capable of alleviating her economic situation.. From here Arabella's entanglements with her numerous suitors follow one another., and the different plots, all with a party atmosphere because the carnival is being celebrated.

Strauss makes his operas very choral works, as we could already see in this same theater with Capriccio, so the singing sometimes becomes pure conversation.
Apparently Arabella does not have a symphonic structure., but the live motives associated with characters balance the tones. Its score contains melodies of great beauty, like the waltzes, arias and duets of beautiful invoice, like the one between Arabella and Mandryka in the second act, or the final scene, based on a traditional Croatian wedding song, Where is Mandryka from?.

The scenery by Christof Loy has the elegance of the remembered Capriccio and the same sobriety of color, black and white. In addition to that Loy quality of making a stage with hardly any elements not seem empty. Some mobile panels are showing us, first the different hotel rooms where the Waldner family lives, and then the ballrooms where the parties are held. The work ends in a huge cubicle of a white that dazzles and that leaves all the protagonism to the singers and the resolution of the plot.. Herbert Murauer's costumes are fundamental elements of the set design, fully descriptive of the time and the situation of the characters.

David Afkham's musical direction was at a good level. Although sometimes we had to wait for the arrival of the most recognizable Strauss to re-immerse ourselves in the work.

The American Sara Jakubiak is in charge of giving life to Arabella. It has an attractive timbre and a very good and enameled emission.. A powerful center and remarkable phrasing. Her character also shone thanks to her good performance and presented a mature Arabella., which perhaps lacked a bit of frivolity. His final aria, when he offers Mandryka the clear water from the fountain that seals their commitment, It was a great interpretive beauty.

Josef Wagner, whom we already saw interpreting one of the protagonists of Capriccio, was in charge of giving life to Mandryka. His bass baritone voice shone with this strange leading man.. But where he was best was in the interpretation, not easy, of a brusque character and out of place in the high society to which he arrives. Although it meets the main requirement, the wealth.

The Zdenka of the Belgian soprano Sarah Defrise was very good, especially in the interpretive part. His character is very special, for the solitude in which he finds himself and that he knew how to convey perfectly. His beautiful timbre with dark tones was perfect for the character.

Anne Sophie von Otter was in charge of giving life to Adelaide, the Count's wife and the most superficial character of the whole family. The passage of time is noticeable in his voice, but it preserves a high quality instrument. His stage presence is still impressive., as his way of unfolding on stage.

Elena Sancho Pereg from Donostia, as Fiakermilli, had to face a brief role, but diabolic for the treble that he addressed with courage and quality. All accompanied by a great interpretation.

Martin Winkler as Count Waldner, had a prominent role. Bass baritone voices are rarely heard so solid and deep anymore.

Dean Power, like Elemer, He remained in almost all his interventions hidden under the orchestra. Highlight Roger Smeets, in his role as Dominik, another of Arabella's suitors, just like Tyler Zimmerman.

It was a success to finally program Arabella at the Teatro Real and this cycle that. Season after season brings us closer to the music of Strauss.