Dutch National Opera tickets 23 April 2025 - Die Frau ohne Schatten | GoComGo.com

Die Frau ohne Schatten

Dutch National Opera, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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7 PM
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If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Starts at: 19:00
Acts: 3
Intervals: 2
Duration: 4h
Sung in: German
Titles in: Dutch,English

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Cast
Performers
Tenor: AJ Glueckert (The Emperor)
Soprano: Ausrine Stundyte (The Dyer`s Wife)
Choir: Chorus of Dutch National Opera
Baritone: Josef Wagner (Barak, the Dyer)
Conductor: Marc Albrecht
Mezzo-Soprano: Michaela Schuster (The Nurse)
Orchestra: Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Choir: Nieuw Amsterdams Kinderkoor
Soprano: Sara Jakubiak (The Empress)
Creators
Composer: Richard Strauss
Librettist: Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Light: James Farncombe
Director: Katie Mitchell
Dramaturge: Klaus Bertisch
Costume designer: Naomi Dawson
Overview

In Die Frau ohne Schatten, composer Richard Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal created a multi-layered fairy tale about two couples in search of a meaningful new life in a cold, barren world.

The Empress, who is from the spirit world, needs to acquire a shadow. If she fails, her human lover, The Emperor, will turn to stone. Encouraged by her Nurse, she tries to obtain the shadow of The Dyer’s Wife. For both The Empress and The Dyer’s Wife, this signifies the start of a quest for the fulfilment of their desires.

When Marc Albrecht conducted Die Frau ohne Schatten in 2008, it led to his appointment as chief conductor of Dutch National Opera and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. When he stepped down in 2020, he had wanted to present this opera as a fitting finale to his tenure as chief conductor. Those plans had to be postponed due to the pandemic, but can now finally be executed.

The award-winning theatre and opera director Katie Mitchell is a prominent figure in the international opera world. She is known for being particularly attuned to social wrongs and inequality. At Dutch National Opera, she previously made a deep impression with her raw, realistic reading of Janáček’s Jenůfa (2018). In Die Frau ohne Schatten, The Empress’s search for a shadow is linked to the ability to have children. All grist to the mill for Mitchell, who will critically dissect the opera’s conservative ideals in her own inimitable fashion.

For Die Frau ohne Schatten, Dutch National Opera has assembled a cast of singers of the highest calibre. Acclaimed soprano Aušrinė Stundytė is making her DNO debut performing the demanding role of the Dyer’s Wife for the first time. Also making a house debut is heldentenor AJ Glueckert in the role of The Emperor. Sara Jakubiak, praised for her ‘plush-voiced, impressive soprano’, returns to DNO as his wife, The Empress. Bass-baritone Josef Wagner, who recently made a remarkable debut in Amsterdam with his perceptive and moving interpretation of The Fiddler in Humperdinck’s Königskinder (2022), will be taking on the challenging role of Barak. Last but not least, seasoned mezzo-soprano Michaela Schuster returns to Amsterdam in her signature role of The Nurse.

History
Premiere of this production: 10 October 1919, Vienna State Opera

Die Frau ohne Schatten (The Woman without a Shadow) is an opera in three acts by Richard Strauss with a libretto by his long-time collaborator, the poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It was written between 1911 and either 1915 or 1917. When it premiered in Vienna on 10 October 1919, critics and audiences were unenthusiastic. Many cited problems with Hofmannsthal's complicated and heavily symbolic libretto. However, it is now a standard part of the operatic repertoire.

Synopsis

The opera's story is set in the mythical empire of the Southeastern Islands and involves five principal characters: the Emperor (tenor), the Empress (soprano), her Nurse (mezzo-soprano), Barak, a lowly dyer (bass-baritone), and the Dyer's Wife (dramatic soprano). A sixth character, Keikobad, King of the Spirit Realm and father to the Empress, sets the plot in motion, but never appears on stage. The Empress is half human: she was captured by the Emperor in the form of a gazelle. She assumed human shape and he married her, but she has no shadow. This symbolizes her inability to bear children. Keikobad has decreed that unless the Empress gains a shadow before the end of the twelfth moon, she will be reclaimed by her father and the Emperor will turn to stone.

Act 1

Scene 1

It is dawn, outside the bedchambers of the Emperor and Empress. The Messenger of Keikobad arrives, and tells the Empress's nurse that the Empress must acquire a shadow within three days, or will be forcibly returned to his realm, and the Emperor turned to stone. The Nurse is excited about the prospect of returning to the spirit world, since she hates humans and having to dwell with them.

The Messenger leaves and the Emperor emerges from his bedchamber. He departs on a three-day hunting trip, seeking his favorite falcon, which he drove away for attacking a gazelle that later turned into the Empress. He leaves his wife to the Nurse's care. The Empress emerges from her chamber and reminisces about times when she had the ability to turn into any creature she wanted.

It is revealed that after being attacked by the red falcon that the Emperor is seeking, she lost a talisman that gave transformation powers, and on which was inscribed a curse that foresaw the fate she and the Emperor are about to face if she does not acquire a shadow. The red falcon appears and warns the Empress that the curse is about to be fulfilled. The Empress begs the Nurse to help her get a shadow. The Nurse, who is steeped in magic, suggests descending to the mortal world and finding a woman who will sell her shadow to the Empress.

Scene 2

Barak, a dyer, shares his hut with his Wife and his three brothers: the One-Eyed Man, the One-Armed Man, and the Hunchback. The three brothers fight about a stolen item and are separated by the Wife, who throws a bucket of water at them. The brothers-in-law then argue with the Wife. Barak enters and stops the argument. The Wife wants to have her in-laws thrown out, but her husband refuses.

The Dyer desires children, but his Wife fears the responsibility and has secretly sworn not to have any. The Dyer and his brothers leave, and the Empress and the Nurse arrive in disguise. The Wife wants them out of her house but the Nurse conjures up visions of luxury and promises them to the Wife in return for her shadow. The Wife agrees to deny her husband for three days during which the Nurse and the Empress will live at the Dyer's hut as poor relatives who have come to work as servants.

Barak approaches and the Wife is worried that dinner is not ready, the Nurse once more uses her magic to have everything ready, including the splitting of Barak's bed in two. The Nurse and Empress disappear, and the Wife is greatly upset by the offstage Voices of Unborn Children lamenting, which emerge from the fish that are cooking on the fire. The Dyer returns to find he is barred from his marital bed. The Wife curtly informs him of the impending stay of her "cousins" and goes off to her separate bed. From outside the Town Watchmen are heard singing of the importance of conjugal love. Barak sighs and lies down to sleep on the floor.

Act 2

Scene 1

The Empress, acting as a servant, helps the Dyer leave for work, but is troubled by her role, because Barak is very kind to her. The Nurse conjures up the image of a handsome youth by bringing a broom to life, which tempts the Dyer's Wife. The Dyer returns with his hungry brothers and beggar children. He has had a magnificent day at the market, selling all his goods, and has invited everyone to celebrate. However, his Wife manages to ruin the celebration.

Scene 2

The Emperor is led to his hunting lodge in the forest by the red falcon. He sees the Empress and Nurse surreptitiously enter the lodge, and is suspicious. When he comes closer, he smells a human odor trailing the Empress. Thinking she has betrayed him, he resolves to kill her. He first thinks of using an arrow, and then his sword, and then his bare hands. Finally he realizes he can't do it. He resolves to seek out some isolated ravine to be alone with his misery.

Scene 3

At the Dyer's house, the Dyer is drugged into sleep by the Nurse. The Nurse again conjures up the young man for the Wife, who grows frightened and rouses the Dyer. Barak is surprised to learn that there is a man in his house but then is quickly turned upon by his Wife, who shouts at him, then leaves for the city, leaving her confused husband. Left alone with Barak, the Empress feels more guilty than before.

Scene 4

The Empress goes to sleep at the hunting lodge, but in her sleep she is further troubled by her crime and by the possible fate of the Emperor. In a dream, she sees the Emperor enter her father's realm. Unseen choruses chant the curse of the talisman. Awakening, she is overcome with guilt and remorse.

Scene 5

The next day, the Wife announces that she has sold her shadow. When a fire reveals that she has no shadow, the enraged Barak is ready to kill her. The Empress cries out that she no longer wants the shadow. A sword appears in the Dyer's hand. His brothers restrain him as the Wife declares her remorse and urges Barak to kill her. An earthquake splits the ground and Barak and his wife are swallowed into the earth. The brothers flee, and the Nurse, recognizing Keikobad's hand, spirits the Empress away.

Act 3

Scene 1

In a grotto beneath the realm of Keikobad, the wife and the Dyer are seen in separate chambers, unaware of the other's presence. The Wife is haunted by the Voices of Unborn Children. She protests that she loves the Dyer, who regrets his attempted violence. A voice directs them up separate staircases.

Scene 2

The Empress and Nurse arrive before Keikobad's Temple. The Nurse tries to convince the Empress to escape but she remembers the doors from her dream and knows that her father is waiting for her on the other side. She dismisses the Nurse and enters. The Nurse foretells terrible tortures awaiting the Empress and misleads the Wife and Barak, who are looking for each other, she to die at her husband's hand, he to forgive her and hold her in his arms. Keikobad's Messenger condemns the Nurse to wander the mortal world.

Scene 3

Inside the Temple, the Empress speaks to Keikobad, asking for forgiveness and to find her place amongst those who cast shadows. Keikobad does not answer but shows the Emperor already almost petrified. The Fountain of Life springs up before the Empress, and a temple guardian urges her to drink from it and claim the Wife's shadow for herself. But the Dyer and the Wife are heard offstage, and the Empress refuses to steal their future happiness and become human by robbing humanity from someone else: "Ich will nicht!" ("I will not!"). This act of renunciation frees her: she receives a shadow, and the Emperor is restored to natural form

Scene 4

The scene changes to a beautiful landscape. Barak and his Wife are reunited and she regains her own shadow. Both couples sing of their humanity and praise their Unborn Children.

Venue Info

Dutch National Opera - Amsterdam
Location   Amstel 3

The Dutch National Opera is the largest theatre production house in the Netherlands. Situated in the heart of Amsterdam, the iconic theatre of Dutch National Opera & Ballet offers a magnificent view of the River Amstel and the famous Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge). The various spaces form an inspiring backdrop for a whole range of special events.

Dutch National Opera & Ballet is a young theatre with a long history. The plans for building a new theatre ran parallel to the plans for a new city hall. The first discussions held by the Amsterdam city council about building a new city hall and opera house go back to 1915. At that time, the plans were specifically for an opera house, since ballet was a relatively unknown art form back then.

Ideas for the site of the new city hall and opera house were continually changing, and the idea that both buildings could form a single complex only emerged much later. Sites considered for the new city hall were initially the Dam, followed by the Frederiksplein, and finally the Waterlooplein.

In 1955, the city council commissioned the firm of architects Berghoef and Vegter to draft a design for a city hall on the Waterlooplein. The draft was approved, but in 1964 the council ended the association with the architects, as the final design was nothing like the original plans they had been shown. In 1967, a competition was held for a new design, with the Viennese architect Wilhelm Holzbauer emerging as the winner. Amsterdam's financial problems, however, meant that the plans for the new city hall were put on hold for several years.

DNO has its own choir of sixty singers and technical staff of 260. DNO historically has not had its own resident orchestra, and so various orchestras of the Netherlands, including the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (NPO), the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra (NKO), the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and the Asko/Schönberg ensemble have provided the orchestral forces for DNO productions.

DNO produces on average eleven productions per year. While most performances are in the Dutch National Opera & Ballet building, the company has also performed in the Stadsschouwburg, at the Carré Theatre, and on the Westergasfabriek industrial site in Amsterdam. For many years, the June production has been organized as part of the Holland Festival and includes the participation of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. DNO has lent its productions to foreign companies, such as the Metropolitan Opera, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Lincoln Center Festival in New York, as well as the Adelaide Festival in Australia.

Since 1988, the French-Lebanese theatre director Pierre Audi has been the artistic director of DNO. Audi is scheduled to conclude his DNO tenure in 2018. In April 2017, DNO announced the appointment of Sophie de Lint as the company's next artistic director, effective 1 September 2018.

Hartmut Haenchen was chief conductor from 1986 to 1999, in parallel with holding the title of chief conductor of the NPO. He subsequently held the title of principal guest conductor with DNO. Subsequent chief conductors have been Edo de Waart (1999-2004) and Ingo Metzmacher (2005-2008). In March 2009, DNO announced the appointment of Marc Albrecht as the orchestra's next chief conductor, with the 2011-2012 season, for an initial contract of four years. This return to a single chief conductor at both DNO and the NPO/NKO allows for the NPO to become the principal opera orchestra for DNO. Albrecht is scheduled to stand down as chief conductor of DNO at the end of the 2019-2020 season.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Starts at: 19:00
Acts: 3
Intervals: 2
Duration: 4h
Sung in: German
Titles in: Dutch,English
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