Rounding Wagner’s Mountain: Richard Strauss and Modern German Opera

Bryan Gilliam

Richard Strauss fifteen operas, which span the years 1893-1941, make up the largest German operatic legacy since Wagner’s thirteen operas of the 19th century. Many of the works by Strauss were based on texts by Europe’s finest writers (Oscar Wilde, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and Stefan Zweig among others). They also overlap some of the most important and tumultuous stretches of German history, such as the founding and demise of a German empire, the rise and fall of the Weimar Republic, the period of National Socialism, and the post-war years, which saw a divided East and West Germany.

Though this study addresses relevant musical issues, it explores the historical, aesthetic, philosophical, and literary issues surrounding these works.