Broadcast

Metropolitan Opera Radio Broadcast and Live in HD Transmission: Der Rosenkavalier 

Saturday, May 13, 2017, 12:25 P.M. (ET) (HD) 12:30 P.M. (ET) (Radio)

Broadcast Rosenkavalier hdl 517
Renée Fleming's pensive Marschallin in Robert Carsen’s Rosenkavalier
© Catherine Ashmore/ROH
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The 2016–17 Metropolitan Opera broadcast season is sponsored 
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Der Rosenkavalier  

Music by RICHARD STRAUSS
Libretto by HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL 
THE CAST  
(in order of vocal appearance)
Octavian  mezzo, ELĪNA GARANČA 
Marschallin soprano, RENÉE FLEMING 
Marschallin’s Major-Domo tenor, SCOTT SCULLY 
Baron Ochs  bass, GÜNTHER GROISSBÖCK 
Lackeys  tenor, MARCO ANTONIO JORDÃO 
  bass, ROSS BENOLIEL 
  tenor, DANIEL CLARK SMITH 
  bass, EDWARD HANLON 
Orphans  soprano, MARIA D’AMATO 
   mezzo, CHRISTINA THOMSON ANDERSON 
  mezzo, ROSALIE SULLIVAN 
Milliner soprano, ANNE NONNEMACHER 
Animal Vendor  tenor, DUSTIN LUCAS 
Valzacchi  tenor, ALAN OKE 
Italian Singer  tenor, MATTHEW POLENZANI 
Notary  bass-baritone, JAMES COURTNEY 
Annina  mezzo, HELENE SCHNEIDERMAN 
Faninal  baritone, MARCUS BRÜCK 
Marianne  soprano, SUSAN NEVES 
Faninal’s Major-Domo                            tenor, MARK SCHOWALTER 
Sophie  soprano, ERIN MORLEY 
Innkeeper  tenor, TONY STEVENSON 
Waiters  tenor, BRIAN FRUTIGER 
  bass-baritone, BRADLEY GARVIN 
   bass-baritone, BRIAN KONTES 
   bass-baritone, CHRISTOPHER JOB 
Police Commissioner  bass, SCOTT CONNER 
Mohammed  TBA 
Widow  SIDNEY FORTNER  
Hairdresser   TBA 
Leopold   PATRICK STOFFER 
Doctor  FRANK COLARDO 
 
 
Conducted by SEBASTIAN WEIGLE  
  
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra 
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus 
The Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus 
The Metropolitan Opera Ballet 
  
Production: Robert Carsen 
Set designer: Paul Steinberg 
Costume designer: Brigitte Reiffenstuel 
Lighting designers: Robert Carsen, Peter Van Praet 
Choreographer: Philippe Giraudeau 
Chorus master: Donald Palumbo 
Musical preparation: Linda Hall, Robert Morrison, Derrick Inouye, Jonathan Khuner, Bryan Wagorn 
Assistant stage directors: Eric Einhorn,  
Kathleen Smith Belcher, Paula Suozzi 
Stage band conductor: Gregory Buchalter 
Children’s chorus director: Anthony Piccolo 
Prompter: Jonathan Khuner 
German coach: Marianne Barrett 
  
Production a gift of  
Howard Solomon and Sarah Billinghurst Solomon 
  
Coproduction of the Metropolitan Opera;  
Royal Opera House, London;  
and Teatro Regio di Torino 
 
   
THE CAST  
Timings (ET) 
ACT I   Marschallin’s boudoir  12:30–1:54 
ACT II   Faninal’s palace  2:29–3:26 
ACT III   An inn  4:01–5:09 
 
Host: Mary Jo Heath 
Commentator: Ira Siff 
Music producer: David Frost 
Producers: Ellen Keel, John Bischoff, William Berger 
Executive producers: Mia Bongiovanni,  
Elena Park 
 
Directed for live cinema by Gary Halvorson 
HD host: Matthew Polenzani  
 
This performance will be transmitted live, 
in high definition and surround sound, into selected movie theaters as part of The Met: Live in HD series. For information on tickets,  
 

THE STORY   

ACT I. As morning sunlight streams into her boudoir, the Princess von Werdenberg (the Marschallin) is embraced by her young lover, Octavian (Count Rofrano). The youth hides while a little serving boy, Mohammed, enters with a tray of breakfast chocolate. At the sound of voices in the antechamber, the Marschallin at first fears that her husband has returned unexpectedly, but it is her country cousin, the coarse Baron Ochs von Lerchenau. Octavian, to amuse himself and avoid discovery, dons the dress of a chambermaid, "Mariandel." The baron barges in and begins to discuss his pending marriage to Sophie von Faninal, daughter of a wealthy bourgeois; he is looking for a knight to present a silver rose in token of the engagement. During the conversation, Ochs flirts with Mariandel. The Marschallin slyly suggests Octavian as bearer of the rose and shows his picture to the baron, who is struck by its resemblance to the chambermaid. As the room fills with retainers and petitioners for the Marschallin's levee, Mariandel escapes. An Italian Singer offers a sentimental aria, cut short by the baron's wrangling with a lawyer over Sophie's dowry. The baron hires a pair of Italian intriguers, Annina and Valzacchi, to locate Mariandel. When the room is cleared, the Marschallin muses on her waning youth. Octavian returns and is perplexed by her wistful mood. Stunned by her suggestion that one day he will tire of her, he leaves without a kiss. The Marschallin tries to call him back, but it is too late. Summoning Mohammed, she sends Octavian the silver rose. 

ACT II. In the ostentatious reception hall of Faninal's "town palace," he and Sophie excitedly await the baron's cavalier, while the girl's duenna, Marianne, stands by a window describing the arrival of the coach. Octavian enters in magnificent attire and presents the silver rose to Sophie, who accepts rapturously. After a few words of polite conversation, chaperoned by Marianne, the two young people feel attracted to each other. Ochs enters, shocking Sophie with his crudeness before going off to discuss technicalities with her father. Octavian embraces her, and they are seized by Annina and Valzacchi, who summon Ochs. Octavian, defending Sophie's honor, draws his sword and scratches the baron's arm. Amid the ensuing confusion, Faninal is enraged to hear Sophie declare she will never wed Ochs. Meanwhile, Octavian enlists the services of Annina and Valzacchi. The baron soothes his wounded vanity with wine. As it begins to take effect, Annina brings a note from Mariandel asking for a rendezvous. Ochs, anticipating an amorous conquest, ignores Annina's hints for a tip.

ACT III. At Octavian's instigation, Annina and Valzacchi help prepare a room in a dingy inn. Before long, Ochs and Mariandel arrive for a private supper. As the counterfeit chambermaid coyly leads her suitor on, grotesque heads pop out of trapdoors and secret panels, unnerving the baron. Annina, disguised as a widow, runs in, crying that Ochs is the father of her many children. The police arrive, followed by Faninal, who summons Sophie to disprove the baron's claim that Mariandel is his legitimate fiancée. As Octavian whispers his identity to the officer, the Marschallin enters. She forces the baron to renounce Sophie and dismisses him; he leaves, pursued by waiters clamoring for payment. The Marschallin, lamenting that she must relinquish her lover so soon, gives the bewildered Octavian to Sophie. She slips unnoticed from the room as the young people marvel at their dream come true. With Faninal, the Marschallin passes by in a last farewell. Octavian and Sophie reaffirm their love and run from the room. Mohammed retrieves Sophie's dropped handkerchief and rushes out. 

THE BACKGROUND 

When Richard Strauss was born, in 1864, his native Munich was ruled by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Wagner's patron and friend. But Strauss's father, a horn player in the court orchestra, had little use for Wagner's modern music. Young Strauss, who studied piano at age four with his mother and was nearing nineteen when Wagner died, at first tended to share his father's views. As he began composing, however, aided by Wagner's disciple Hans von Bülow, Strauss became heir apparent to the master of German music drama. His initial opera, Guntram, fell flat at its premiere in 1894. His next, Feuersnot (1901), was more successful. In Salome, heard in 1905, Strauss's individuality emerged with full and turbulent effect.

Elektra (1909) brought him together with collaborator Hugo von Hofmannsthal for the first time. It was this Viennese poet who provided a "comedy for music" in Der Rosenkavalier, the fifth and most popular of Strauss's fifteen operas. The two resolved to write a Mozartean work, a Viennese-dialect sequel to Le Nozze di Figaro. Strauss's resulting style, Biedermeier Baroque polished with suave waltz rhythms from the later epoch of Johann Strauss, recalls the eighteenth century's delicacies and indelicacies.

The premiere of Der Rosenkavalier took place in Dresden on January 26, 1911, with Margarethe Siems (Marschallin), Eva von der Osten (Octavian) and Karl Perron (Ochs); on the podium stood Ernst von Schuch, who also had led Salome and Elektra to triumph. Productions all over Germany followed within a few months, but it took two years for the new work to reach American shores. There, at the Metropolitan on December 9, 1913, Alfred Hertz led a cast that featured Frieda Hempel, Margarete Ober and Otto Goritz. The current production was first seen on January 23, 1969.

WHAT TO READ AND HEAR   

Bryan Gilliam's The Life of Richard Strauss (Cambridge) is a good place for the general reader to learn more about the composer. Michael Kennedy's Richard Strauss: Man, Musician, Enigma looks at the composer in the context of the cultural and political events that influenced Strauss and his posthumous reputation.

On CD, Susan Graham's Octavian joins Barbara Bonney and Renée Fleming for the Rosenkavalier trio on Fleming's Strauss Heroines (Decca). On Karajan's brilliant first recording (EMI), Christa Ludwig's generously scaled Octavian warms up the enameled perfection of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's Marschallin. Solti's heroically rich 1968 recording (Decca) boasts the voluptuous Princess von Werdenberg of Régine Crespin, superlatively supported by a magnificent cast, among them Yvonne Minton (Octavian), Helen Donath (Sophie), Manfred Jungwirth (Ochs) and, believe it or not, Luciano Pavarotti as the Italian Singer. Maria Reining (Mar­schallin), Sena Jurinac (Octavian) and Hilde Güden (Sophie) are the neatly matched principals in Erich Kleiber's elegant 1954 performance (Decca). The celebrated 1933 set of selections from Vienna, with Lotte Lehmann, Elisabeth Schumann and Richard Mayr offering idiomatic if less than completely accurate performances, is available in excellent sound from Naxos.

The DVD of choice is Carlos Kleiber's sparkling Vienna performance, with Felicity Lott, Anne Sofie von Otter and Bonney (DG). Under Christian Thielemann's adroit leadership, Fleming's Marschallin glows in a 2009 Baden-Baden restaging of Herbert Wernicke's Salzburg Festival production; Diana Damrau and Sophie Koch complete the principal trio, with Jonas Kaufmann luxuriously cast as the Italian Singer (Decca). Solti's Covent Garden performance has Kiri Te Kanawa as its luminous Marschallin (Kultur). Schwarzkopf, Jurinac and Otto Edelmann star in Paul Czinner's 1962 film of a Karajan-led Rosenkavalier from Salzburg (Kultur). spacer 

This performance is also being broadcast
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