Richard Strauss: Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme Suite
Richard Strauss’s music for Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme was actually born out of an experimental idea. First of all, a play of the same name from nearly 200 years earlier provided the springboard for the project. And the project was not that Strauss would provide incidental music for that play, but also serve as a bit of a prologue for the composer’s one-act opera Ariadne auf Naxos. This “play plus opera” experiment, though, left audiences exhausted, and evidently annoyed. But it wasn’t just the music that caused the evening to go on forever – and appearance of King Karl of Württemberg during the intermission, plus general revelry with wine and food, meant that his opera didn’t even start until two and a half hours after the start of the play.