Metropolitan Opera Broadcast: Der Rosenkavalier 

Radio Broadcast of Saturday, February 22, 1 P.M.

Broadcast Rosenkavalier hdl 2 214
At Faninal's palace, Octavian brings Sophie the silver rose (Mojca Erdmann as Sophie, Coote, Jennifer Check as Marianne)
© Johan Elbers 2014
The 2013–14 Metropolitan Opera broadcast season is sponsored by 
Toll Brothers, America's luxury home builder®, with generous long-term support from 
The Annenberg Foundation, The Neubauer Family Foundation,
the Vincent A. Stabile Endowment for Broadcast Media,
and through contributions from listeners worldwide.

Der Rosenkavalier

Music by Richard Strauss
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Archive performance of November 22, 2013  
THE CAST  (in order of vocal appearance)
Octavian mezzo, ALICE COOTE
Marschallin soprano, MARTINA SERAFIN
Marschallin's majordomo tenor, BERNARD FITCH
Baron Ochs bass, PETER ROSE
Lackeys  tenor, DUSTIN LUCAS
  baritone, JASON HENDRIX
  baritone, ROBERT MAHER
Orphans soprano, MARIA D'AMATO
  mezzo, MARY HUGHES
Milliner mezzo, STEPHANIE CHIGAS
Animal Vendor tenor, KURT PHINNEY
Valzacchi tenor, WOLFGANG ABLINGER-
Italian Singer tenor, ERIC CUTLER
Notary bass-bar., JAMES COURTNEY
Annina mezzo, JANE HENSCHEL
Marianne soprano, JENNIFER CHECK
Faninal's majordomo ten., RONALD NALDI
Sophie soprano, ERIN MORLEY
Innkeeper tenor, TONY STEVENSON
Police Commissioner bass, RICHARD BERNSTEIN
Mohammed mime, YSAI HUEBNER
Widow mime, ELLEN LANG
Hairdresser mime, SAM MEREDITH
Leopold  mime, STEPHEN PAYNTER


The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
The Metropolitan Opera Chorus
The Metropolitan Opera Children's Chorus

Production: Nathaniel Merrill
Set and costume designer: Robert O'Hearn
Lighting designer: Gil Wechsler
Stage director: Robin Guarino
Chorus master: Donald Palumbo
Musical preparation: Dennis Giauque,
    Paul Nadler, Dan Saunders, 
    Bradley Moore, Carrie-Ann Matheson
Assistant stage directors: Jonathon Loy,
    Tomer Zvulun
Stage band conductor: Gregory Buchalter
Children's chorus director: Anthony Piccolo
German coach: Marianne Barrett
Prompter: Carrie-Ann Matheson

Production a gift of
    Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Revival a gift in memory of
    Joan and Charles Scribner, Jr.,
    by their son Charles Scribner III

THE SCENES Timings (ET) 
ACT IMarschallin's boudoir 1:00–2:18
ACT IIFaninal's palace 2:56–3:54
ACT IIIAn inn4:34–5:41

Host: Margaret Juntwait
Commentator: Ira Siff
Music producer: Jay David Saks
Producers: Mary Jo Heath, Ellen Keel,
    William Berger
Executive producers: Mia Bongiovanni,
    Elena Park

For more information on the broadcasts,
    please visit

Send quiz questions to:
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Metropolitan Opera
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New York, NY 10023
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This performance is also being broadcast
    live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on
    SiriusXM channel 74.


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. 

Broadcast Rosenkavalier hdl 214
In the Marschallin’s boudoir, an Italian Singer entertains the Marschallin and her cousin, Baron Ochs (Eric
Cutler as the Italian Singer, Serafin, Peter Rose as Ochs)

© Beth Bergman 2014

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. 

Broadcast Rosenkavalier Hdl 3 214
At an inn, Octavian, disguised as Mariandel, toys with the Baron (Coote, Rose)
© Beth Bergman 2014

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. 

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Alice Coote and Martina Serafin as Octavian
and the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier at
the Met

© Beth Bergman 2014

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.


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 1968recording (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 

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