Die Frau ohne Schatten
By Richard Strauss
June 4–28, 2023
Starting at $31
Approximately 4 hours including two intermissions
Sung in German with English supertitles
Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Magic created her. Humanity will save her.
Half-spirit and half-mortal, the Empress lives in fear of a curse: If she doesn’t acquire a human shadow in three days’ time, the spirit world will reclaim her—and turn her husband to stone.
Strauss’ rarely performed masterpiece returns for the first time in over 30 years in a vibrant production designed by acclaimed artist David Hockney. Former San Francisco Opera Music Director Sir Donald Runnicles conducts.
See a Performance
Why See It
It’s a fairy tale spun from the same kind of dark magic and myth-making you can find in Pan’s Labyrinth, Lord of the Rings, and Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast.
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"[Nina] Stemme's voice harkens back to a golden age of opera while simultaneously proclaiming her as a dramatic soprano built for the twenty-first century."
"[Johan] Reuter’s ardently phrased Barak was the musical heart of the Met’s 2013 revival of Die Frau ohne Schatten, a performance of genuine star quality."
"Camilla Nylund... outdid herself as the shadowless Empress, harnessing her liquid silver soprano for a powerful role debut."
Out hunting with his favorite falcon, the Emperor of the Southeastern Islands captured a gazelle; she turned into a woman whom he married. Daughter of Keikobad, kind of the spirits, she is a woman without a shadow—that is, unable to bear children. According to Keikobad’s decree, unless the Empress gains a shadow before the end of the twelfth moon she will be reclaimed by her father and the Emperor turned to stone.
Hear The Music
Audio excerpts are from the 1976 cast of Die Frau ohne Schatten, with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra conducted by Karl Böhm.
Orchestral Interlude, Act I/San Francisco Opera Orchestra; “Gib du mir Kinder”/Walter Berry as Barak; Chorus of Servant Girls/San Francisco Opera Chorus Women; “Um Nahrung für mich”/ Ursula Schröder-Feinen as the Dyer’s Wife; “Mit Welchem Preis”/Leonie Rysanek as the Empress