Strauss's Daphne

Romeo Castellucci (stage director), Thomas Guggeis (conductor) — With René Pape (Peneios), Anna Kissjudit (Gaea), Vera-Lotte Boecker (Daphne) …

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Romeo Castellucci — Stage director, costume designer, lighting, scenography

Evelin Facchini — Choreographer

Martin Wright — Chorus Master

Piersandra Di Matteo — Dramaturgy

Jana Beckmann — Dramaturgy

Maxi Menja Lehmann — Assistant stage director

Lisa Behensky — Assistant stage designer

Alessio Valmori — Assistant stage designer

Clara Rosina Straßer — Assistant costume designer

Theresa Wilson — Assistant stage designer

Marco Giusti — Lighting design assistant

René Pape — Peneios

Anna Kissjudit — Gaea

Vera-Lotte Boecker — Daphne

Magnus Dietrich — Leukippos

Pavel Černoch — Apollo

Program notes

Don't miss this rarely heard gem by Richard Strauss: the opera Daphne returns to the Berlin State Opera with Vera-Lotte Boecker and René Pape! In this meticulous staging by Romeo Castellucci, the titular nymph's arboreal metamorphosis takes place against a ghostly backdrop of falling snow, untainted by the bloodshed to come…

This Castellucci production is a thorough reimagining of the work that still keeps the overarching framework of the myth passed down through generations, from Ovid and Plutarch to Strauss and his librettist Joseph Gregor. Under the baton of Thomas Guggeis, the voices of Vera-Lotte Boecker and René Pape (as Daphne and her suitor Leucippe) unite in harmonius celebration of this age-old drama where life and death melt into one another.

Composed between 1936 and 1937 in Dresden, Strauss's work opens on a paean to nature sung by the young nymph Daphne. Unbeknownst to her, the god Apollo (played brilliantly by Pavel Černoch) is listening, mad with desire—but she escapes his clutches through flattery and the intervention of Zeus, who transforms her into a laurel tree, making her one with nature itself. In a final creative exclamation point, Castellucci closes the action with the epigraph from T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, perhaps in a nod to our own ecological crisis: "'Sibyl, what do you want?' She answered, 'I want to die.'"

Photo © Monika Rittershaus

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