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Richard Strauss 1900–1920

Developments in Opera

Wagner's heir:
German opera becomes delightfully wicked, decadently romantic, and sometimes downright shocking.

Strauss operas feature big orchestras that produce both deafening noise and pretty waltz tunes. (Don't confuse this Strauss with Johann Strauss, Jr., "The Waltz King," who wrote Die Fledermaus.)

His non-operatic work, the fanfare from "Also Sprach Zarathustra," became famous as the music from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Masterworks

A wanton princess of ancient Judea becomes sexually obsessed with John the Baptist. Decadence and madness set in the exotic Middle East.

Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose):
The Vienna of our dreams that probably never was. A sophisticated comedy in which an older woman gracefully accepts age by surrendering her young lover to the girl who has captured his heart. The girl's ill-mannered fiancé provides a comic touch.

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Photo Credit

Die Fledermaus, 2006 © Richard Strauss photo