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Photos Courtesy: SF Opera

SAN FRANCISCO, CA- Offering  San Francisco's  Opera lovers, during its 100 years anniversary, the unique opportunity to see again the magical  plot of a surrealistic libretto, created by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and to listen to one of the  richest musical scores ever composed by  Richard Strauss during his life,  Die Frau ohne Shatten  (The Woman Without a Shadow)  will be presented from June 4 to June 28, at the War Memorial Opera House with and international cast of singers and former San Francisco Opera Music Director Sir Donald Runnicles conducting this  opera. for the first time in his long career.

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Sir Donald Runnicles

Those familiar with European Operas, know that Die Frau ohne Schatten, along with Richard Wagner's The Ring Cycle and Hector Berlioz's Les Troyans, is one of the most ambitious and exhilarating large-scale works ever written for the stage, and that. because of the demands of its plot, it was considered for decades following it l9l9 world premiere, impossible to produce by many American impresarios due to the required massive orchestral forces it demands, the complexity of its scenes changes, and the vocal demands required by its singers.

Adding to the difficulties in its staging, is the required portrayal of its characters. by the singers, because they are symbolic. What librettist Von Hoffmanshal, presents to his audience as characters, are actually the impersonation of a series of philosophical concepts, such as Selfishness, greed, shallowness, and complete disregard for other people. One of them is the woman who wants to project a shadow, but finds herself unable to do so because she lacks empathy for other people, and having empathy, is what gives us humans the ability to project a shadow.

And to project even more symbolism into this opera's plot. The "humans" are paired with spirits. The Emperor and the Empress, in the opera, belong in the "spiritual world,"while the The Dyer, whose only aim is trying to put meaning into everything and particularly trying to make his wife understand that she eventually will get a "shadow" when she starts , showing compassion to the suffering of mankind because a shadow is displayed only when a person shows empathy, in the opera, their characters are not really human.

The other symbolic characters in the plot are as follow: The NURSE, whose job is to protects the EMPRESS from the world of Spirits. KAlKOVARD,  the invisible King of the Spirits, whose job is to help to guide humans in  learning  humanity. The FALCON, who represents  wisdom.  THE CRIPPLE BROTHERS, who represent mankind imperfections and are the antithesis of the FALCON, and the voices of the UMBORN CHILDREN, who represent our creative possibilities.

The San Francisco Opera production will be sang by two dramatic sopranos,  Camilla Nylung, and Nina Stemme, a Wagnerian tenor  David Butt Philip, and  Danish Baritone Johan Reuter and  American dramatic soprano Linda Watson,

The rich orchestration which will include timpani, percussion Chinese gongs, two celestas and a giant harmony, will be able to give the production an unusual rich sound.  And here we should add that the sounds, in this production are unique, because the orchestration of the production demonstrates the most  elaborate musical sounds ever written by Strauss, who took two years writing its score  DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN  Premiere in Vienna in October 10, 1919..

ON JUNE 23, TICKETS START AT $32 AND ON JUNE 28 AT $25  For tickets and more information, visit https://www.sfopera.com/operas/die-frau-ohne-schatten/.