Richard Strauss and his Heroines

A film by Thomas von Steinaecker, featuring Brigitte Fassbaender, Renée Fleming, Dame Gwyneth Jones, Christa Ludwig, Christian Strauss, Rufus Wainwright

The film Richard Strauss and his Heroines goes on an exciting journey discovering the women in Strauss’ life. At the focus is primarily his relationship with the choleric and chronically jealous Pauline, to whom he was married for over 55 years up to his death. Until today she applies as a harridan who often embarrassed her husband in public. It hereby falls under the table that Strauss at the beginning and the end of his relationship composed his finest songs for the trained singer who gave up her career for him and covered his back for the rest of his life.

What was it that made the broken old man, who experienced the most varied of epochs in German history, from the Empire to the Nazi dictatorship to the post-war period, write in 1948 in his final song (“At Sunset”) one of the most moving declarations of love in the history of music: “We have through sorrow and joy gone hand in hand”?

We visit Strauss' last surviving grandchild in Garmisch and we meet the great Strauss singers Brigitte Fassbaender, Reneé Fleming, Dame Gwyneth Jones and Christa Ludwig, who report on their famous Strauss roles. With the conductor Franz Welser-Möst we research the secret of Strauss’ instrumentation genius. Strauss expert Christoph Wagner-Trenckwitz, member of the board of the Vienna Volksoper, leads us through the film.

Progr.: 5978
Duration: 52'
A production of Studio.TV.Film in co-production with SRF

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