Die schweigsame Frau - Prinzregententheater Munich, 23 July 2010
Die schweigsame Frau's relative lack of success is sometimes excused as bad timing. An adaptation of Ben Jonson's play The Silent Woman, it's inoffensive comic fluff. But the fact that its librettist Stefan Zweig was Jewish ensured the opera was banned by the Nazis after just three performances in 1935.
Now it languishes in a corner of the repertoire, picked up and dusted off only occasionally. But much else that was prohibited in Germany during Hitler's reign - Mahler especially springs to mind - has recovered its position, and more. Do the reasons lie more in the work itself than the unfortunate circumstances of its debut? This new production for the Munich Opera Festival gives it a fair chance, but I can't say that I was blown away. By riddling it with ironic pastiches of his own older works, Strauss was perhaps acknowledging that he had little new to say.