Capriccio is an opera by German composer Richard Strauss.
Capriccio was Strauss's final opera (Op. 85); it premiered at the Nationaltheater München on October 28, 1942 - seven years before Strauss's death. The German libretto was written by Clemens Krauss and Strauss himself.
He subtitled it "A Conversation Piece for Music," and it is indeed "talky" and conversational, with minimal stage action. Its subject can be summarized as, "Which is more important: words or music?"
This question is dramatized in the story of a Countess torn between two suitors: Olivier, a poet, and Flamand, a composer. In her salon outside Paris, the two prepare for her birthday celebrations and vie for her affections by debating the merits of words versus music. Joining the lively debate are a theatre director, La Roche; an actress, Clairon; the Countess's brother; and a pair of Italian opera singers.
Words and music, of course, join together to create the unique art form of opera. Capriccio has a reputation as something of an insider's opera, an opera about opera for opera lovers. (In recent years, it has been described by reviewers as a "meta-opera".)