Richard Strauss: Friedenstag

The opera in one act Friedenstag was written to a libretto by Joseph Gregor with the collaboration of Stefan Zweig and the composer, based on the comedy El sitio de Bredá by the Spanish poet Pedro Calderón de la Barca. Richard Strauss and Stefan Zweig exchanged plans about an opera project when the composer was in Salzburg in August 1934 during the festival season. After initial sketches, Zweig insisted that the libretto should be written by a third person, since as a Jew he considered the work impossible under the National Socialist regime. Joseph Gregor was suggested by Zweig, and a first meeting between the latter and Richard Strauss took place in Berchtesgaden in July 1935. Strauss repeatedly sought Stefan Zweig’s advice while working on the libretto and reworded verses himself, sometimes even replacing them with his own text passages. Strauss finally completed the score on 16 June 1936, and Friedenstag was premiered at the Munich National Theatre on 24 July 1938. Clemens Strauss conducted, Rudolf Hartmann directed, and the stage design was by Ludwig Sievert.

Photo credit: Friedenstag score. Vienna 1938.