May 20, 2022, 8 p.m.
Arabella, the darling of Viennese society, has no qualms turning down suitors. She’s waiting for the «right man», one who will lead her off to a better life. And she finds him in the Croatian landowner Mandyrka. But she’ll soon realize that he’s got a darker side, too…
The realization that this «lyric comedy» could turn into a «tragedy» at any moment, as Strauss himself one remarked, is manifestly obvious. In this late work, the composer finds a new way to treat language, tonal refinement, and expressive power. Operetta-like in tone, and infused with elements reminiscent of the waltz, the opera is strangely broken. This ambivalence fits within the history of the work’s reception. It was premiered in Dresden in 1933, and instrumentalized for propaganda purposes by the Nazis. Director Robert Carsen doesn’t ignore those societal forces at work, setting the action at the height of the Third Reich.
Hanna-Elisabeth Müller makes her debut as Arabella in this revival. At her side is an exquisite Strauss ensemble: German soprano Anett Fritsch debuts in Zurich as Zdenka, with tenor Pavol Breslik as Matteo. Austrian baritone Josef Wanger takes on the role of Mandryka, as he did in the premiere. And the score’s twists and turns are in the capable hands of conductor Markus Poschner. [Text by Opernhaus Zurich]
Kulturstelle contact: Alexander Fink email
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