Die Frau ohne Schatten has always been an opera of legend, and the Bavarian Opera’s production originating in Japan with a Japanese production team is a stunner…the team effort produces other enjoyable aspects.
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Wolfgang Sawallisch’s love of the music is evident throughout, and his near ideal cast would be difficult to duplicate today. While not always effacing memories of individual performers of the 1960s and 1970s, the team effort is nonetheless impressive. Luana DeVol has now moved on to the role of the Dyer’s Wife, but in 1992 she easily encompassed the vocal demands of the Empress if not offering the last word in hieratic ecstasy. Peter Seiffert is the most lyrical Emperor of my experience, while Mariana Lipovšek is positively demonic as the Nurse. Her facial expressions are even highlighted by the makeup and her vocal sneers are incomparable. Janis Martin and Alan Titus are less memorable as the earthly couple, but nonetheless hold their own in a remarkably homogeneous cast.