Jana McIntryre & David Portillo Lead Bard SummerScape’s ‘The Silent Woman’

By Francisco Salazar

Bard SummerScape is set to present Richard Strauss’s “The Silent Woman (Die Schweigsame Frau),” one of the composer’s rarely performed works.

The production is set to be directed by German director Christian Räth.

The work which is based on the on Epicoene, a comedy by Shakespeare’s contemporary Ben Jonson, represents the first and only fruit of Strauss’s collaboration with the celebrated Austrian-Jewish novelist Stefan Zweig.

The librettist’s Judaism strained Strauss’s already-complicated relationship with the Third Reich and while striving to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law and grandchildren, the composer accepted the presidency of Goebbels’s State Music Bureau, and he consistently prioritized the advancement of his own career.

“The Silent Woman” received its Dresden world premiere only after Hitler himself had interceded, but it was still banned after its fourth performance.

In a statement by Räth, he said, “[The creators] make us experience the ways that joy and melancholy, the prosaic and the extraordinary, and the ephemeral and the eternal are all inextricably intertwined – in life as well as on the stage.”

Leon Botstein conducts the American Symphony Orchestra with a cast that includes Harold Wilson, Jana McIntyre, David Portillo, Edward Nelson, Ariana Lucas, Matthew Anchel, Chrystal E Williams, Anya Matanovic, Federico DeMichelis, and Jorell Williams.

The opera will is set to be presented from July 22 through 31, 2022, and will be performed five times. The opening night performance will be live-streamed and rebroadcast on July 30.