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Subject: Re: Strauss operas
From: chris mullins <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:chris mullins <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 3 Dec 2008 14:19:36 -0500
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Just to represent alternative views, I thought I might weigh in. I am 
ambivalent about much of Strauss's music. I can barely abide the bigger 
pieces, like the Alpine Symphony or Ein Heldenleben. They strike me as the 
equivalent of a toddler banging away at every pot and pan in the kitchen, only 
it's Strauss banging away with an orchestra. Don Juan I have to admit liking, 
and I can enjoy Till Eulenspiegel once every few months.

I heard an excellent symphonic suite from "Frau" the other day. I have 
enjoyed the opera when seeing it live, and I would certainly go again. But I do 
think it is overlong, and the story is stuff and nonsense. Not that I can't enjoy 
fantasy, dark or light. "Frau" just never resonates with me, and I don't share 
the composer's sympathy for bitter, shrieking sopranos. 

I get antsy in act three of "Rosenkavalier," up to the trio. How I wish the 
creators had found a way to wrap things up at the Faninal's. And despite 
being 53, I am a holdout on empathy for the Marschallin. No tears flow for me 
when she laments the passing of time. It passes. We age and die. Get over it. 

I love "Ariadne." That two hours of music is my favorite Strauss, by far. Less 
bombast, more charm and humor. But on the darker side of the operatic moon, 
both "Elektra" and "Salome" strike me as near perfect. I've never seen "Elektra" 
live! Wonder how long I'll have to wait, here in California...

Anywho, we should have a range of responses on Opera-L. Of 20th century 
opera composers active around the time of Strauss, I much prefer the work of 
Puccini and Janacek. 

C Mullins

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