“[Designer] Hockney has turned the opera into a scenic wonderland of gleaming, fluidly changing, primary colors. Everything looks very pretty and very painterly, from the stylized panoramas of winding roads, lakes and ornamental trees in the upper realms to the dye-dripped platform that functions as Barak’s modest hovel.” – Martin Bernheimer, Los Angeles Times Music Critic (1993)
LA Opera presented Die Frau ohne Schatten in 1993. Set in a mythical empire, Strauss’ opera follows the story of two childless married couples, the Emperor and Empress, and Barak, the Dyer, and his wife. The Empress has no shadow, because she is half human and the Emperor’s love is not true enough to make her fully human (and thus able to bear children). The whole opera explores the worthiness of couples to have children and how it is only when a couple can love each other unselfishly that they are properly equipped to be parents. Quite ahead of its time!
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