Richard Strauss' Handwritten Manuscript For 'Die Schweigsame Frau' To Be Auctioned

Richard Strauss' Handwritten Manuscript For 'Die Schweigsame Frau' To Be Auctioned

German composer Richard Strauss' manuscript for the final scene of his 1935 opera Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman) will be auctioned by Nate D. Sanders Auctions on July 26, 2018.

Strauss co-wrote the opera with Austrianlibrettist Stefan Zweig. The German composer handwrote the vocal score for the bass voice, which was sung by the lead character Sir Morosus, who sang, ''Wie schon ist doch die musik'', or ''How beautiful music is."

The Nazis viewed Strauss as a German cultural treasure. Strauss cooperated with the Nazis and became president of the Reichsmusikkammer in November 1933. However, he did it as an opportunist and to protect himself and his family. Zweig explained Strauss' actions, "to be co-operative with the national socialists was furthermore of vital interest to him, because in the national socialist sense he was very much in the red. His son had married a Jewess and thus he feared that his grandchildren, whom he loved above all else, would be excluded as scum from the schools; his earlier operas tainted through the half-Jew Hugo von Hofmannstahl; his publisher was a Jew. Therefore, to him it seemed more and more imperative to create support and security for himself, and he did it most perseveringly."

The Nazis began to attack Strauss in the summer of 1934 because of his association with Zweig, who was Jewish. Strauss refused to withdraw the opera and insisted Zweig be credited for his libretto authorship. There was an internal power struggle within the Nazi party. The Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels wanted to utilize Strauss' international reputation and was willing to allow non-Aryan artists to work with the composer. Alfred Rosenberg was more critical and wanted to remove Strauss from as president of the Reichsmusikkammer and replace him with Nazi Peter Raabe. Hitler initially ruled in favor of Strauss and allowed the opera to be performed. The opera was premiered at the Dresden Semperoper on June 24, 1935, and was conducted by Karl Böhm. Hitler subsequently changed his mind after the Gestapo intercepted correspondence between Strauss and Zweig, and banned the opera in Germany. Strauss was critical of the Nazi party in the letters. He was forced to step down as president on July 6, 1935.

The opera was performed abroad most noticeably in February 1936 in Graz, Austria and in June 1936 in Prague conducted by George Szell.

Strauss died in 1949 but was able to see the revival of the opera after the fall of the Third Reich. Zweig never had the opportunity to see the opera performed. He moved to the United States and then to Brazil following the outbreak of World War II. He committed suicide on February 23, 1942.

Bidding begins at $15,000.

Additional information on the manuscript can be found at

An industry leader in documents and autographs, Nate D. Sanders Auctions has conducted auctions in Los Angeles since 1990 and now holds major auctions on a monthly basis. Owner Nate Sanders is recognized for his knowledge of sports, historical and Hollywood memorabilia. To learn more visit

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