R Strauss: Daphne (digital download)
Considered by many to be the greatest of ALL Strauss operas that you've never heard of.
Although Strauss described Daphne as a "bucolic tragedy," based on Greek myth, it is not an opera about loss, as is Orpheus, or about retribution, as in Elektra, but rather something else altogether. Daphne, a child of nature, embodies both chaste purity and bewitching glamour, rejects two suitors, and, through metamorphosis, turns into a tree, becoming for all time a part of the natural world she ardently loves. In Strauss's drama, the greater weight is placed on the bucolic, the pastoral, and on humanity's relationship to the natural world. Given the turbulence of 1930s Germany, when the piece was composed, Strauss's artistic response also suggests a meditation on humanity—the good and the bad—and an homage to the ideals of Hellenism that had informed German musical culture from the time of Goethe to Strauss's present day (ideals that were increasingly under the shadow of the rising nihilism that seemed intent on destroying that very culture). Notwithstanding the opera's special, evocative, dreamlike quality, there remains plenty of dramatic action—a cattle stampede, the trajectory of Apollo's chariot, Dionysian revels—that delivers full-on bravura.
Performed by the CMD Grand Opera Company of Barcelona Spain.
Produced and Conducted by Joana Filipe Martinez