Zweig, who was Jewish, had finished the libretto in January 1933, the very month Hitler came to power. With works by Jews prohibited from German stages, the press began to attack Strauss on this issue. Strauss refused to withdraw the opera and set up the premiere for Dresden, resulting in an internal power struggle within the Nazi government. Since neither Goebbels nor Rosenberg would take the responsibility, the matter was referred to Hitler, who personally informed Strauss that the opera could proceed. An effort to keep Zweig’s name off the playbills for the premiere was overturned by Strauss, and Hitler decided to stay away from the successful premiere performance. A short time later, however, the Gestapo intercepted a letter from Strauss to Zweig urging him to collaborate on future operas and to publically air his critical views of the Nazi regime. Hitler was not amused and after three more performances, Die Schweigsame Frau was banned. Zweig had already left Germany—eventually committing suicide in Brazil in 1942—and Strauss was told to resign as president of the Reichsmusikkammer (State Music Bureau) on grounds of ill health. Given all these serious trials and tribulations, it is entirely consistent that Die schweigsame Frau contains some of Strauss’ lightest music for the stage!
Richard Strauss: Die Schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman), Act 1