The theme of transformation (Verwandlung) plays a significant role in the work of Richard Strauss, from his Tod und Verklärung (1889) to his Metamorphosen (1945). This article examines two Strauss operas where transformation is a central aspect of the libretto: Ariadne auf Naxos (1912/16), libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and Daphne (1937), libretto by Joseph Gregor. Though each opera focuses on transformation, this concept is interpreted and realized in entirely different ways. For Hofmannsthal, Verwandlung is a journey outward to a new level of existence, attaining a new sense of humanity. For Gregor, transformation is an inward movement, joining nature, and becoming divine in the German-Romantic sense of the term.
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