The fires should be burning high on this Midsummer’s Eve, and yet the town is shrouded in darkness. The beautiful Diemut is the cause of this mishap, at least in the opinion of Kunrad, who is enamoured by her, and yet is publically humiliated by the object of his affection in front of the local populace. Kunrad’s revenge for this practical joke is to banish all light from the town. The fires will only burn again when the stubborn Diemut accepts his love.
Disappointment at the failure of »Guntram« in his home town of Munich led Richard Strauss to create this more light-hearted »short Intermezzo against the theatre, written from personal motives and as a minor revenge against my beloved birthplace«, as Strauss recounted in his »Observations and Memories«.
Dotted with musical quotations from the operas of Richard Wagner, as well as his own works, and occasionally turning to popular songs of the day, »Feuersnot« is an ironic work that probed the double standards of the day. Turning his back on Munich, Strauss headed to Dresden: Premiered at the city’s Royal Opera House in 1901 under the baton of Ernst von Schuch, »Feuersnot« inaugurated Dresden’s tradition of Strauss performance. And now this »sung poem« can once again be heard in the Saxon capital, at an open air event in the Great Courtyard of the Residenzschloss. Musical support is provided by Dresden’s period Festspielorchester, whose members all come from Europe’s leading early music ensembles, and who will here strive to recreate on period instruments the original orchestral sound enjoyed by the audience at the work’s premiere.
Opera in one act Semi-staged performance in German Richard Strauss