R. Strauss: Friedenstag (Peace Day), Op. 81
Conductor: Zoltán Kocsis
The series were spanning several seasons in which Zoltán Kocsis and the Hungarian National Philharmonic performed rarely heard stage works by Richard Strauss at the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall arrived at its latest station in 2015. The interesting aspect of this latest concert, besides the rarity of the works, is that it featured two operas the composer wrote in 1938 that were originally intended to be performed side by side on the same programme.
Political circumstances also had an impact on how the two 1938 works came into existence: after being classified as a persona non grata, Stefan Zweig was unable to continue working on the libretto alongside the composer and, at his own suggestion, was replaced by Joseph Gregor. Although Friedenstag – which we will stream tonight as part of the Müpa Home series – achieved extraordinary success in the years following its première, today it is one of the most rarely performed operas in the repertoire.
The work will be directed by Austrian-based Hungarian Csaba Némedi and both the Friedenstag and Daphne share a unified stage design. What is more, both operas will be set around a key event of Strauss’s time: the 1936 Berlin Olympics. “The set of Friedenstag features an oversized military drum, which also serves as a platform for the overthrow of the
hierarchy. This set element could also be interpreted as a circus manège based on its
shape, which is appropriate as the world of the circus revolved around antiquity,”
the director said of his concept.
This recording was made at the concert held at Müpa Budapest on 3 October 2015.