As so often in Richard Strauss’s stage works, »Daphne » deals with a woman’s fate. This work takes for its subject one of the oldest of operatic plots: the legend of Daphne and the god Apollo, as told by Ovid in his »Metamorphoses«. Plutarch introduced Leukippos to the story, a rival to Apollo for the hand of Daphne. Dressed as a woman in order to enter Daphne’s close circle, Leukippos is uncovered and killed by Apollo. Following her wish, Daphne is then transformed into a laurel tree in order to be united with nature; thus she will be forever green and alive. The libretto to this bucolic tragedy was written by Joseph Gregor. Strauss was dissatisfied with the initial two versions, complaining that »everything has been scribbled down, and insufficiently visualized for the stage«. The composition was partly written in the Sicilian town of Taormina where Strauss indulged himself in dreams of antiquity. An Arcadian idyll with tragic undertones became a study of the irreconcilability of the Appolonian and Dionysian approaches to life. The premiere of »Daphne« was given in Dresden on 15 October 1938 under the direction of Karl Bohm, to whom Strauss dedicated the work.
Opera in three acts by Richard Strauss Performed in Italian with German surtitles
Running time 1 hour 50 minutes
Premiere 02 Oct 2010