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CANCELLED- Opera Book Club: A Working Friendship and Composers of the Nazi Era

Monday, April 6, 2020 - 6:00pm (Tucson)

The decision to cancell this event was made in accordance with instruction from the White House and Governor’s office recommending the cancellation of all mass gatherings Numerous other Arizona Opera-related events and activities have also been cancelled through mid-May – complete list included at


In Opera Book Club, use on-stage works as a jumping off point to read, discover, and gain added context to enhance your experience in the theater. Opera Book Club meetings take place at Union Public House. Appetizers will be provided, and additional food and drink will be available for purchase.

This meeting of Opera Book Club, we’ll be taking a look at A Working Friendship: The correspondence between Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal (introduction by Edward Sackville-West) and Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits by Michael H. Kater.

Note: This meeting will focus on specific sections of the above titles. PDF copies of these excerpts will be made available by February 2020.

Opera Book Club events are free with registration. Due to limited capacity, please register for each individual meeting you wish to attend. You can register for this event by clicking the ticketing link below.


Synopsis -- A Working Friendship: The correspondence between Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal

The relationship between Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal was not always smooth sailing, but endured to produce nine works, including Ariadne auf Naxos. Read the actual letters from one of opera’s most enduring creative duos, with an introduction from the late Edward Charles Sackville-West, a British music critic and member of the board of the Royal Opera House.


Synopsis -- Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits

IHow does creativity thrive in the face of fascism? How can a highly artistic individual function professionally in so threatening a climate? Historian Michael H. Kater provides a detailed study of the often interrelated careers of eight prominent German composers who lived and worked amid the dictatorship of the Third Reich, or were driven into exile by it: Werner Egk, Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Carl Orff, Hans Pfitzner, Arnold Schoenberg, and Richard Strauss.

Kater weighs issues of accommodation and resistance to ask whether these artists corrupted themselves in the service of a criminal regime--and if so, whether this may be discerned from their music. After chapters discussing the circumstances of each composer individually, Kater concludes with an analysis of the composers' different responses to the Nazi regime and an overview of the sociopolitical background against which they functioned. The final chapter also extends the discussion beyond the end of World War II to examine how the composers reacted to the new and fragile democracy in Germany.