Strauss depicts his wife, Pauline, in a quite extraordinary violin solo in ‘Des Helden Gefährtin’, and Roman Simovic’s was one of the most ravishing I have ever heard – and I have heard many, many performances of this work. What was remarkable about it was the complete distortion of time – Pappano lavished on Simovic all the space he wanted, all the love of a great operatic aria. Simovic would, in turn, spin lines that were tonally rich, uncharacteristically balletic for this work. It was flawless but entirely, endlessly creative. Simovic’s Pauline was invented to sing through this Heldenleben; she was here to quell, even to seduce, the ardent and heroic Strauss.