Richard Strauss

Die Frau

ohne Schatten

Saturday 21. October 2023 18:00 – 22:30 2 Intermissions Main Stage
30 Minuten vor der Vorstellung
im Gustav Mahler-Saal
Goldener Cycle

Ticket information

Season 2023/2024

A must for opera connoisseurs: a cycle that brings together important works, works by various master directors and the most sought-after performers in the music world!

10. October 2023: LA TRAVIATA
21. October 2023: DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN
13. December 2023: TURANDOT
17. February 2024: IL TRITTICO


Cast at
21. October 2023


Vincent Huguet


Aurélie Maestre


Clémence Pernoud

Licht und Video

Bertrand Couderc


Louis Geisler

About the Production

Short Summary

In the fairy-tale opera »Die Frau ohne Schatten«, Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal pose the simple yet difficult question of how to live a meaningful life:

Should the focus be on one's own personal happiness or on empathizing with others? To find the answer, the authors send their stage characters through trials. The image of the shadow stands for humanity. The happy ending is a rousing final cheer: »Now I will rejoice as no one has rejoiced!«

Die Frau

ohne Schatten


While hunting, the emperor kills a gazelle. It turns into a young woman with whom he falls in love and takes as his wife: she is the daughter of the ghost king Keikobad.

But she must cast a shadow within twelve months, otherwise the emperor will petrify and the empress must return to her father. After all, there are only three days left.

The emperor, unaware of the impending danger, sets off on another hunt. The empress secretly goes to the human world with her nurse to gain a shadow. They return to the house of the dyer Barak and his wife: poverty reigns there, the couple live together with Barak's brothers and have no children.

The dyer, dissatisfied with her life and her husband, allows herself to be seduced by the promise of wealth and is prepared to give her shadow to the empress: but then the dyer could never become a mother. At first she desires a handsome young man conjured up by the nurse, but her conscience prevents her from actually cheating on Barak, who loves her more than anything. Distraught, she confesses to him what has happened. For Barak, whose only goal is the happiness of a large, close-knit family, a world collapses: A lust for murder rises up in him. At this moment, their world sinks and they both find themselves separated in a stone vault: remorse seizes the couple and they realize their love for each other anew.

The emperor, in turn, believes he has been betrayed by the empress and wants her dead: but even in his anger he is unable to kill his wife. The Empress realizes that her happiness can only be achieved through the misfortune of others - Barak and his wife. She decides against her own welfare and does not drink the magically powerful water of life, which secures her the dyer's shadow and thus saves the emperor from petrification. She has thus passed the test of being human, as she now shows empathy and compassion for others and puts her personal happiness behind that of others. By attaining humanity, she gains a shadow - and the Emperor, whom she loves, is saved, as is the dyer couple. The voices of the (as yet) unborn children echo softly after the triumphant final jubilation:

Father, nothing threatens you,
See it is already fading,
Mother, the fearfulness,
That has distracted you.
Were there ever a feast,
Were not secretly
We the invited ones
We also the hosts?

Act 1 70 Min
Intermission 30 Min
Act 2 70 Min
Intermission 30 Min
Act 3 65 Min

The composer raved about the libretto while they were still working together: "Incredibly noble, magnificent, mature and interesting, with splendid dramatic and moral problems, wonderful scenic processes." Musically and dramaturgically, Strauss took up ideas from Richard Wagner and developed them further in his own spirit. Mozart's Magic Flute, on the other hand, was the inspiration for the fairytale-like atmosphere and the trials imposed on the heroes.

Not too many important masterpieces have been premiered at the Haus am Ring. However, Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal's fourth opera together, Die Frau ohne Schatten, is one of the few exceptions in this respect: On October 10, 1919, the work, which Strauss regarded as "the last romantic opera", saw the light of day at the Vienna State Opera and has been a fixture in international repertoires ever since.

© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper

This production is sponsored by


Tickets for our standing room can be purchased online or at the Bundestheater box office from 10 am on the day of the performance. BundestheaterCard holders can book standing room tickets online the day before the performance.

In addition, a fixed contingent of standing room tickets is available for regular evening performances from 80 minutes before the start of the performance at our standing room box office (Operngasse entrance).

Our operas are sung in the original languages - these vary depending on the work.

At each seat, subtitles in different languages can be switched on or off via a separate subtitle screen. In addition to the original language of the opera, you can choose from up to eight languages: German, English, Italian, French, Russian, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin).

In the event of a change of performance, you can of course return or exchange your tickets.

As changes to the cast cannot be ruled out due to illnesses or other hindrances of artists, there is no entitlement to a refund of the ticket price or exchange in this case.

Tickets cannot be returned or exchanged if you are not admitted to the auditorium due to being late (even after the interval).

About Your Visit


The cloakrooms are located next the the entrances at the Operngasse. You can find additional cloakrooms on the left and right side of the balcony and the gallery and in the boxes. All cloakrooms are free of charge.

Be on Time

We ask you to be on time when attending the performances.
Entry to the auditorium is not allowed after the performance has started. This also applied after the break.

Food and Drink

Our gastronomy opens at the same time entry is permitted. You can enjoy some snacks and drinks before the performance starts or you can book a table for the break.

Practical Information

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