Martha Jungwirth, Ohne Titel, aus der Serie Aridane, 2012
Aquarell auf Papier, 210 x 106 cm
Courtesy Martha Jungwirth, Foto: Lisa Rastl
© Martha Jungwirth/Bildrecht, Wien 2023

Based on an idea by Stefan Zweig, Richard Strauss’s Capriccio, his final work for the stage, circles around a problem that is as old as the genre of opera itself: the relationship between words and music. Set in Paris around 1775, the plot combines an aesthetic debate with the rivalry between the poet Olivier and the musician Flamand, who are both wooing Countess Madeleine. Strauss regarded this highly unusual work as his ‘testament’. When Clemens Krauss, co-author of the libretto, mooted the possibility of them continuing their collaboration, Strauss pointed to the famous monologue of the Countess that is preceded by the hauntingly beautiful ‘Moonlight Music’: ‘Isn’t this D flat major the best conclusion to my theatrical life-work?’

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