(Great Hall Aberystwyth Arts Centre)
Henrietta Bredin (author), Oliver Cotton (actor) Penny Downie (actor)
Raphaela Papadakis (soprano) Tom Poster (piano)
‘My Dearest Hedgehog’ The relationship between Richard Strauss and his wife, the soprano Pauline de Ahna, baffled all who knew them. She was tactless, combative and wildly volatile, while he was phlegmatic, reserved and even-tempered. In his highly autobiographical opera, Intermezzo, he described her as ‘one of those gentle, shy, tender creatures, but rough on the outside; like a hedgehog, all spiny and prickly’. She belittled him in public, criticized his music and was easily roused to irrational jealousy but he adored her, swore that he couldn’t compose without her and their marriage survived until he died, holding her hand, in 1949. This recital, devised by Henrietta Bredin, features songs that Strauss wrote for Pauline to sing, interwoven with a narration that reveals their deep, yet often unexpressed, love for one another.