Sir Donald Runnicles (conductor) Photo: Simon Pauly

San Francisco Opera’s “Die Frau ohne Schatten” Closes on the 28th

San Francisco Opera presents its final production of Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s fairy-tale opera Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman Without a Shadow) on June 28 at the War Memorial Opera House.

Former San Francisco Opera Music Director Sir Donald Runnicles, who led the Company’s acclaimed performances of Wagner’s Ring cycle in 2011 and 2018, returns to the podium to conduct Die Frau ohne Schatten for the first time in his career. A renowned interpreter of Strauss’ works, Runnicles was recently praised by the New York Times for leading an Elektra at the Metropolitan Opera that was “riveting in its revelatory transparency, the layers of expressionistic color, sweetness and Wagnerian abundance stacking in counterpoint or weaving in and out of one another with grace.” Die Frau ohne Schatten, like Elektra, requires one of the largest pit orchestras in the operatic repertoire, and Maestro Runnicles leads the artists of the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, including 96 instrumentalists in the pit and 9 backstage, for these performances.

Returning to the Company where she has enjoyed many past triumphs, including her first Brünnhilde in the complete Ring cycle, Swedish soprano Nina Stemme portrays the Dyer’s Wife. Stemme’s first performances of the role at the Vienna State Opera in 2019 were among opera’s hottest pre-pandemic tickets which Opera News hailed as “A stunning role debut … Her vocally luxurious performance was a cri du coeur from start to finish, full of longing, anguish, despair and ultimate elation … the house shook with applause at the curtain call.”

As noted in an earlier post, soprano Nina Stemme was presented with the San Francisco Opera Medal on June 4.

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