April 8th 2015 STRAUSSʼ DIE ÄGYPTISCHE

April 8th 2015
STRAUSSʼ DIE ÄGYPTISCHE HELENA (THE EGYPTIAN HELEN) IN CONCERT FIRST EVER PERFORMANCE IN FRANKFURT
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to invite you to one of two concert performances, the ninth new production in
Oper Frankfurt's 2014/15 season:
Friday May 1st 2015 (Labour Day), and
Monday May 4th 2015, both performances begin at 19.00hrs in the Opera House
Premiere / First ever performance in Frankfurt / Concert Presentation
DIE ÄGYPTISCHE HELENA (THE EGYPTIAN HELEN)
Opera in two acts by Richard Strauss
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
With German surtitles
Conductor: Stefan Soltesz
Chorus Master: Tilman Michael
I do hope you might be able to cover this event.
For further information, ordering photographs and reserving your press tickets please
contact me on +49 (0)69 - 212 46 727. My fax number is +49 (0)69 - 212 37 164, or you
can reach me by email: [email protected]
With many thanks in advance for your cooperation and
best wishes
Holger Engelhardt
Pressereferent
Premiere / First ever performance in Frankfurt / Concert Presentation
DIE ÄGYPTISCHE HELENA (THE EGYPTIAN HELEN)
Opera in two acts by Richard Strauss
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
With German surtitles
Conductor: Stefan Soltesz
Chorus Master: Tilman Michael
Helena: Tamara Wilson
Menelas: Andreas Schager
Aithra: Brenda Rae
Altair: Simon Neal
Da-ud, Altair's Son: Beau Gibson
Aithra's First Servant: Karen Vuong
Aithra's Second Servant: Maria Pantiukhova
Hermione, Helena and Menelas‘ Daughter: Louise Alder
First Elf: Anna Ryberg
Second Elf: Katharina Ruckgaber
Third Elf: Nina Tarandek
Fourth Elf: Maria Pantiukhova
The Omniscient Mussel: Okka von der Damerau
Oper Frankfurt's Chorus
Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester
There are several versions of Die ägyptische Helena (The Egyptian Helen) by Richard Strauss (1864-1949).
The first edition, which is being performed in Frankfurt, received its World Premiere in 1928 in Dresden. The
libretto is by Straussʼ kindred spirit Hugo von Hofmannsthal who, quite early on, suggested that they might
be able to base an opera on this old story. As with past joint projects, completion of the libretto was delayed
by disagreements with the composer but, in the end, both were convinced that they had produced one of
their finest works.
The story: A sorceress, Aithra, finds out from the Omniscient Mussel about Menelas' plan to murder his wife
Helena and intervenes, to save her. To protect her Aithra gives Menelas a memory erasing magic drink and
leads him to believe that Helen has not cheated on him with Paris. When the potion starts wearing off
Menelas cannot distinguish properly between delusion and reality. His desire for revenge flares up again, but
the sight of his daughter Hermione placates him, enabling the family's happy return to Sparta.
Leading the performances is Stefan Soltesz, back in Frankfurt after a long absence. This Austrian conductor
with Hungarian origins was GMD of the Essen Philharmonic from 1997 to 2013 and Intendant of the Aalto
Theater in Essen, where he conducted this work. He is a regular guest at leading Opera Houses around the
world. The American soprano Tamara Wilson (Helena) appeared in Frankfurt for the first time in 2010/11,
making her successful debut in Germany as Ada in concert performances of Wagner's Die Feen (The
Fairies), and enjoyed enormous success here in 2014 as the Kaiserin in Straussʼ Die Frau ohne Schatten. In
the meantime word spread fast about her recent triumphant debut at the Met in New York, as Verdi's Aida.
Roles in 2014/15 include Bellini's Norma in Barcelona. Tenor Andreas Schager (Menelas) is regarded as a
wonderful new hope for Wagner roles in the future. After his house debut in Frankfurt plans include Parsifal
this spring at the Staatsoper in Berlin under Daniel Barenboim and appearances at the 2017/18 Bayreuth
Festival. The English baritone Simon Neal (Altair), a Member of the Ensemble at Theater Dortmund until
2011, is a regular guest at Oper Frankfurt, where he recently sang Enescu's Oedipe, Kurwenal (Wagner's
Tristan und Isolde) and Sebastiano (d’Albert's Tiefland). Okka von der Damerau (The Omniscient Mussel) is
a Member of the Ensemble at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, singing in Frankfurt for the first time. Led
by Brenda Rae (Aithra), whose performances of the title role in Bellini's La sonnambula here this season
caused a sensation, the other roles are being sung by Members of Oper Frankfurt's Ensemble and Opera
Studio.
Performances: Friday May 1st 2015 (Labour Day), and
Monday May 4th Mai 2015, both performances begin at 19.00hrs in the Opera House
Tickets cost: € 15 to € 115 (with a 12.5% pre-booking fee when not purchased direct from the theatre)
Tickets can be obtained from the usual outlets, by telephone +49 (0)69 – 212 49 49 4 or online
www.oper-frankfurt.de