Der Rosenkavalier


Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949)

Komödie für Musik in drei Aufzügen; Dichtung von Hugo von Hofmannsthal; Uraufführung am 26. Januar 1911 in Dresden; Premiere an der Deutschen Oper Berlin am 13. Februar 1993

In deutscher Sprache mit deutschen und englischen Übertiteln

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The Marschallin, Princess Werdenberg, wakes after a night spent with her lover, the young duke Octavian von Rofrano. The lovers' serenity is disturbed by a loud banging at the door. At the last moment Octavian avoids discovery by dressing up as Mariandl, a chambermaid. Baron Ochs von Lerchenau has entered and asks the Marschallin to recommend a young aristocrat who will offer the traditional silver rose to his bride on the day of his marriage to the (rich) commoner Sophie Faninal. On a whim she recommends Octavian, who has just been discovered by Ochs while surreptitiously trying to leave the chamber. Ochs immediately sets his sights on the supposed 'chambermaid'. It is only with difficulty that “Mariandl” can escape his amorous clutches. Sophie is also very taken with Octavian. When he offers her the rose, their eyes lock. The Baron appears to inspect his bride and Sophie, thoroughly shocked by his crude behaviour, confesses her feelings to Count Rofrano. Needless to say, the Baron is not inclined to relinquish his catch and insists on going through with the wedding. Octavian, disguised as Mariandl, manages to set up a trap for the Baron at an inn of dubious repute, where, with the support of the innkeeper, he contrives to have the Baron caught in a compromising situation. The Baron's future father-in-law, his future wife and the Marschallin arrive at the chaotic scene and the Baron is exposed. Very reluctantly he agrees to forfeit his claim on Sophie. The stage has emptied. The Marschallin, Sophie and Octavian have remained behind. Octavian is torn between the two women. The Marschallin Werdenberg has long since realised that she has lost Octavian. Forlornly, but in good grace, she lets him go and then quietly withdraws. Octavian and Sophie embrace. Their future together beckons.

With DER ROSENKAVALIER Richard Strauss was keen to compose a musical comedy in the Mozartian vein. Working with Hugo von Hofmannsthal he created a masterpiece of operatic literature. It is an opera filled with a poetic musical elegance and sensitive psychological characterisation. This opera remains one of the most beautiful and touching creations for the operatic stage. Caught between Viennese charm and the certainty of the inexorable march of time the opera moves with sophisticated poise, escaping all attempts at shallow classification.

To Götz Friedrich his production turns on the opera's proverbial anachronism, which removes the work from the realm of historical opera and locates it in the tradition of “musical theatre” with an aestheticism all its own. It is not backward-looking waltzes that determine what happens on the stage but rather the intricate interplay of characters who, in their obeisance to the laws of Time and in the face of a looming First World War and imminent collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, appear surprisingly timeless. Dreams and reality are often interwoven and, as Hofmannsthal himself would have it, “…form a part-imaginary, part-real whole” - witness the (in every sense of the word) wondrous carnival scene in the 3rd Act. This fact, no less than the Straussian music, continues to fascinate audiences. The nuanced richness and delicate shades of the music illuminate the opera from within, and the work concludes with the grand tercet, a profound expression of inner humanity: “This is a dream, this cannot be true…”

Der Kinderchor der Deutschen Oper Berlin wird unterstützt von der Berliner Volksbank und der Berliner Morgenpost.

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Accompanying Programme

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Accompanying Programme

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance