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[Cancelled] From Page to Stage: Richard Strauss and Hugo Von Hofmannsthal with Arizona Opera

Date(s): Monday, March 30, 2020, 7:30 p.m.
Recital Hall, 5th Floor, Music Building East, Arizona State University, 50 Gammage Parkway, Tempe, AZ 85281
Discussion, Panel
Genre and Form(s): 
Cost: Free

About this Event

In order to prioritize the health of our community, this event has been cancelled due to concerns around the potential spread of COVID-19. We are currently working to reschedule events for future dates where possible. If you have any questions, please reach out to the Piper Center at 480.965.6018 or For more information about our response to COVID-19, read the Piper Center's statement at or visit ASU's official website at

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There is much to be said about the relationship between composer Richard Strauss and his favorite librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the creators of Arizona Opera’s final production of the 19/20 season, Ariadne auf Naxos. Referencing Composers of the Nazi Era and A Working Friendship, Musicologist Sabine Feisst leads a compelling discussion on the numerous collaborations between the pair, despite surrounding conflicts during the rise of Nazi Germany. The discussion will be followed by a reception with light refreshments.

This event is presented in partnership with the ASU Center for Jewish Studies, School of Music, Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, and Arizona Opera.

About the Books

A Working Friendship: The Correspondence between Richard Straus and Hugo Von Hofmannsthal: The relationship between Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal was not always smooth sailing, but endured to produce nine works, including Ariadne auf Naxos. Read the actual letters from one of opera’s most enduring creative duos, with an introduction from the late Edward Charles Sackville-West, a British music critic and member of the board of the Royal Opera House.

Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits: How does creativity thrive in the face of fascism? How can a highly artistic individual function professionally in so threatening a climate? Historian Michael H. Kater provides a detailed study of the often interrelated careers of eight prominent German composers who lived and worked amid the dictatorship of the Third Reich, or were driven into exile by it: Werner Egk, Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Carl Orff, Hans Pfitzner, Arnold Schoenberg, and Richard Strauss.

Kater weighs issues of accommodation and resistance to ask whether these artists corrupted themselves in the service of a criminal regime--and if so, whether this may be discerned from their music. After chapters discussing the circumstances of each composer individually, Kater concludes with an analysis of the composers' different responses to the Nazi regime and an overview of the sociopolitical background against which they functioned. The final chapter also extends the discussion beyond the end of World War II to examine how the composers reacted to the new and fragile democracy in Germany.

To learn more, visit Arizona Opera's website at

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