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An active composer for almost eight decades of his long life, Richard Strauss left behind a rich body of work. He exerted a huge influence on the music of his time, not just as a celebrated composer but also in various administrative functions. But how did the composer get along with his musical contemporaries? As regards the musical avant-garde – a group to which he was for a time assigned following the premieres of »Salome« and »Elektra« – he had his difficulties. It was certainly an ambivalent signal when, in May 1938, he attended the official Reich Music Days in Düsseldorf, where the exhibition »Degenerate Music« was also being held, to conduct his »Festival Prelude«, Op. 61, as part of the celebrations. The matinee song recital »A Morning for Richard Strauss« will explore the (musical) relationship between Richard Strauss and his contemporaries under the musical direction of Johannes Wulff-Woesten and with members of the Semperoper ensemble.
Operas by Slavic composers such as the recent new productions of »The Bartered Bride« by Bedřich Smetana and »Rusalka« by Antonín Dvořák as well as the planned new production of »Pique Dame« by Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky are central to the Semperoper’s repertoire. Now, the Junges Ensemble will explore the rich cultural heritage of Slavic song. The young singers – some of whom themselves come from Eastern Europe – will illuminate the vast melodic and lyrical treasure chest of songs by Bedřich Smetana, Antonín Dvořák and Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky as well as Leoš Janáček, Mikhail Glinka and Modest Mussorgsky.