Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks - BRSO

Richard Strauss: Die schweigsame Frau (Scenes)

BR-KLASSIK CD 900219 BRSO, Heinz Wallberg

To mark the 75th anniversary of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (BRSO) in 2024, the BR-KLASSIK label is now making this previously unreleased, historical archive recording with scenes from Richard Strauss’ opera Die schweigsame Frau available on CD.

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Excerpts from Richard Strauss’s comic opera Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman) were pre-produced as studio recordings for a television programme in November 1960. The impressive cast was almost identical to that of the opera production at the Salzburg Festival in 1959 under the premiere conductor Karl Böhm: Hans Hotter (Sir Morosus), Hermann Prey (Barber), Fritz Wunderlich (Henry) as well as Ingeborg Hallstein (Aminta) and many others sang. Here, Heinz Wallberg conducts the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, and in contrast to the live recording from Salzburg, which is marred by the clearly audible stage noises of a turbulent production, the outstanding cast of singers in this recording is more effective.

After the death of Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Strauss thought he had reached the end of his operatic career – but then he found a librettist of equal calibre in Stefan Zweig, who provided him with “the best libretto for an opéra comique since Figaro” (Strauss). The comic opera was written between 1932 and 1935 and, despite the fact that Zweig was a Jewish librettist (who had since emigrated), Strauss managed to have the opera premiered in Dresden on June 24, 1935, conducted by Karl Böhm. However, because the composer insisted on printing Zweig’s name on the posters and in the programme, the Nazis boycotted the performance. And after the Gestapo intercepted a letter that Strauss had written to Zweig expressing his delight at the successful premiere, the composer finally fell out of favour. The opera was taken off the programme after only three performances, and was not performed at any other German theatre until 1946. Strauss resigned from the presidency of the Reich Chamber of Music “for health reasons”.

Strauss endowed Die schweigsame Frau with an overabundance of musical ideas, turbulent ensembles and individual tone colours; light comedy and grand arias alternate. He casually quotes himself and a dozen other composers, including Rossini, whose Barber of Seville was the model for his talkative and manipulative barber. Music connoisseurs appreciate the many musical allusions in the work.

Hans Hotter bass (Sir Morosus)
Lilian Benningsen alto (his housekeeper)
Hermann Prey baritone (Barber)
Fritz Wunderlich tenor (Henry Morosus)
Ingeborg Hallstein soprano (Aminta)
Eva Maria Rogner soprano (Isotta)
Marianna Radev soprano (Carlotta)
Josef Knapp baritone (Morbio)
Karl Christian Kohn bass (Vanuzzi)
Karl Hoppe bass (Farfallo)

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Heinz Wallberg conductor

Total Time: 48’59 minutes

  • Excerpts from Richard Strauss’s comic opera Die schweigsame Frau as a studio recording from the Ausstellungspark-Bayernhalle, Munich, recorded on November 4 and 5, 1960

  • Impressive cast – with Hans Hotter (Sir Morosus), Hermann Prey (Barber), Fritz Wunderlich (Henry) as well as Ingeborg Hallstein (Aminta) and many others

  • Heinz Wallberg conducts the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra


Hermann Prey – Hans Hotter

“Es wird Abend…”

Ingeborg Hallstein – Fritz Wunderlich

“Du süßester Engel”

Fritz Wunderlich – Hermann Prey

CD 900219 BR-KLASSIK Label C) Foto Sessner (BR)