“Ariadne auf Naxos” by Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal: The History in Letters


Building upon the correspondence between Richard Strauss and his librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, the paper describes in detail the history of creation and first performances of the opera “Ariadne auf Naxos” (1912, the second version 1916), showing how each of the co-authors contributed to the formulation and implementation of the composition’s idea. Cultural and historical context of the opera’s creation is discussed, along with its significance in the longstanding cooperation between the composer and the writer. The paper compares the two versions of the opera and analyses the differences between them. It highlights the remarkable role of Hugo von Hofmannsthal in the stylistic evolution of Richard Strauss’s work from a Wagnerian musical drama towards an opera in the spirit of Mozart.