Die Liebe der Danae

Die Liebe der Danae

Die Liebe der Danae (The Love of Danae) is an opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to a German libretto by Joseph Gregor.

It was to premiere in the late summer of 1944, but, following the July 20 plot to assassinate Hitler, the Nazis closed the theatres and the opera was not allowed a public staging. They permitted a single (well-attended) dress rehearsal on August 16 so that Strauss could see the work performed. The first public performance was at the Salzburg Festival on August 14, 1952, after Strauss' death in 1949.


Role Voice type Premiere cast
August 16 1944
(Conductor: Clemens Krauss)
Public Premiere cast
August 14, 1952
(Conductor: Clemens Krauss)
Jupiter baritone Hans Hotter Paul Schöffler
Mercury tenor Josef Traxel
Pollux, King of Eos tenor
Danae, his daughter soprano Viorica Ursuleac, Krauss' wife Annelies Kupper
Xanthe, her servant soprano
Midas, King of Lydia tenor Horst Taubmann Josef Gostic
Four Kings, nephews to Pollux tenors, basses
Four Queens:

Four watchmen basses
Creditors, servants and followers of Pollux and Danae, people


Danae, whose father King Pollux is bankrupt and beset by creditors, dreams of a wealthy husband in terms of a shower of golden rain. Royal envoys return with news that Midas, who can turn all to gold, has agreed to woo Danae, and his arrival at the harbour is announced. Danae receives a stranger who is Midas in disguise as his own servant. Strangely drawn to each other, they proceed to the harbour where the supposed King Midas (actually Jupiter in pursuit of another female conquest) greets Danae. Jupiter prepares for his marriage to Danae but, fearing discovery by his wife Juno, forces Midas to deputise for him at the ceremony. When Danae and Midas embrace, she is turned into a golden statue and Jupiter claims her as his divine bride. However her voice calls for the mortal Midas, she is returned to life, and the lovers disappear into the darkness. Jupiter announces that she will be cursed with poverty. Midas, returned to his former existence as a donkey-driver, reveals to Danae his broken pact with Jupiter, but Danae admits that it was love rather than his golden cloak that won her heart. Jupiter pays off Pollux's creditors with a shower of gold and, realising that Danae is far more than a passing amorous fancy, makes one desperate last attempt to win her back. However, she gives him a hair-clasp, her last golden possession, and the god accepts her loss with a moving farewell.

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