Guntram (Op. 25) is an opera in three acts by Richard Strauss with a German libretto written by the composer. The second act of the opera was composed in Ramacca, Sicily.[1]

It was Strauss' first opera and shows a strong Wagnerian influence. The music of Guntram is quoted in Strauss's tone-poem Ein Heldenleben. The composer revised the score in 1940.

Performance historyEdit

The opera was not very successful, and was only staged a few times during Strauss' lifetime:

The first performance took place on 10 May 1894 at the Grossherzogliches Hoftheater in Weimar. The soprano role of Freihild was sung by Pauline de Ahna, Strauss's future wife. Later performances conducted by Strauss included those in Munich on 16 November 1895 and in Prague on 9 October 1901. A performance in Frankfurt was given on 9 March 1910 conducted by Ludwig Rottenberg.

The revised version was first given in Weimar on 29 October 1940, conducted by Paul Sixt, and later in 1942 in Berlin conducted by Robert Heger.

In Hamburg, on 4 February 1895, Gustav Mahler included the Prelude to Act 1 in his 6th Philharmonic Concert. He included the Preludes to Acts 1 and 2 in a concert in Vienna on 19 February 1899, and in New York on 30 March 1910 with the New York Philharmonic.


Role Voice type Premiere cast, 10 May 1894
Conductor: Richard Strauss
The old Duke bass Karl Bucha
Freihild, his daughter soprano Pauline de Ahna, then Strauss's fiancée
Duke Robert, her husband baritone Franz Schwarz
Guntram, singer tenor Heinrich Zeller
Friedhold, singer bass Ferdinand Wiedey
The Duke's jester tenor Hans Gießen
An old woman contralto Luise Tibelti
An old man tenor Hr. Lutz
Two younger men basses Hr. Barth
Hermann Buche
Three vassals basses Hr. Fischer, Hr. Schustherr, Hr. Henning
A messenger baritone Hermann Buche
Four Minnesingers tenors, basses Hr. v. Szpinger, Hr. Knöfler, Hr. Glitsch, Hr. Weyrauch
Vassals, Minnesingers, monks, servants, vagrants


Set in medieval Germany, the triangular Wagnerian-style story of love and redemption is about the minstrel Guntram, the evil Duke Robert and his saintly wife Freihild. (The story is not connected with the Merovingian king Guntram of Burgundy.)


Year Cast
The Old Duke
Duke Robert
Opera House and Orchestra
1981 William Lewis,
Carole Farley,
Patrick Wheatley,
Terence Sharpe,
John Tomlinson
John Pritchard
BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers
Audio CD: Gala
Cat: GL 100787
1984 Reiner Goldberg,
Ilona Tokody,
Sandor Solyom-Nagy,
Istvan Gati,
Janos Bandi
Eve Queler
Hungarian State Orchestra
Audio CD: Sony Music
Cat: 88697448162
2005 Gian Luca Zampieri,
Elena Comotti,
Andrea Martin,
Raphael Sigling,
Thomas Gazheli
Gustav Kuhn
Tirol Festival, Erl Orchestra and male chorus
(Live recording)
DVD: Col Legno


  1. ^ Antonio Cucuzza, Wagner a Ramacca?, Agorà XVI (a. V - Gen. - Mar. 2004), pp. 52-53.
  2. ^ Recordings of Guntram listed on
  • Murray, David, "Guntram" in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie, London, 1992 ISBN 0-333-73432-7

External linksEdit