According to David Fielding's eagerly-awaited, tender-hearted Garsington production of Die Liebe der Danae, Semele, Europa, Alkmene and Leda are ballroom queens. In the beginning, three of their four amours with that master of disguise Zeus/Jupiter bore fruit significant for the ongoing sagas of Greek and Roman mythology: Herakles from the three-night stint of Alkmene and the man she believed to be her husband, Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra out of a single egg laid by swan-seduced Leda, and Dionysus out of the ashes of over-reaching Semele, shrivelled by the sight of her god in all his majesty. The biological imperative was discarded by Hugo von Hofmannsthal – perhaps oddly for one so interested in the child-bearing outcome of his own Frau ohne Schatten myth – as he proposed a new operatic legend for Strauss in 1920. His queens (first three, later four) would be ‘bird-like, vain, forgetful, gossiping about everything’, flitting around in a Zerbinetta-like intermezzo to the main business of Jupiter's quest for Danae's love; the featherlight delicacy of the proposal was beautifully mirrored by Fielding's inspired idea. Taking up his long-deceased poet's suggestion just under two decades later, Strauss, as he neared the end of his operatic career, added a further twist. His god had grown old like himself; and on Jupiter's ever more emotional journey towards the renunciation of the woman Strauss decided would be his last love, Danae, the four close-harmony queens would move from Ariadne-style banter to tender acknowledgement of the ageing process, their apogee a canon of bitter-sweet sentimentality.