The German physician Hans Leicher undertook an operation on Richard Strauss’s nose in 1928, when the composer was working on his opera Arabella.
Leicher subsequently recalled that Strauss drafted two numbers for the work in the hospital immediately following the operation, after two cotton balls impregnated with a 2% cocaine solution had put him into such a state of stimulation that instead of resting he was inspired, and worked intensively.
The numbers were the duets Aber der Richtige, wenn’s einen gibt für mich and Und du wirst mein Gebieter sein, often described as the finest moments in the score.
This according to “Richard Strauss und die Hals-Nasen-Ohren-Heilkunde: Zur Entstehungsgeschichte der zwei schönsten Duette der Oper Arabella” by Herbert Pichler (Richard Strauss-Blätter I [June 1979] pp. 46–53).
Below, Aber der Richtige.
While Elisabeth Schwarzkopf is still world-renowned for her operatic brilliance, it has proved all too easy for her admirers to forget her passion for recital performance.
It was as a recitalist that Schwarzkopf made her U.S. debut in 1935, and she was a beloved figure on American recital stages until her New York farewell recital in 1975. Her final stage appearance was a Zurich lieder recital in 1979.
This according to “Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (December 9, 1915–August 3, 2006)” by Janet A. Choi and Oussama Zahr (Opera news LXXI/4 [October 2006] pp. 80–81).
Today would have been Schwarzkopf’s 100th birthday! Above, performing with Gerald Moore, one of her favorite accompanists; below, also with Moore, Richard Strauss’s Wiegenlied.