Saturday, 11 February 2012

Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss

What a beautiful opera it is, Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss. The music is easy on the ear, almost Mozart-like.

Die Marchallin is double the age of her lover, Count Octavian Rofrano.  But we are not supposed to be upset. That Octavian is just 17, his lover is higher up in nobility and older (ca. 35). But we are not supposed to be upset after all this happened in the past. It was another time and place, Vienna in the 1740s. Besides Octavian already has a history of many "conquests". In act 1, in the love scene of Marchallin and Octavian, if you listen carefully you hear a woman calling her lover a boy and almost baby him. Octavian, the young boy, a teenager as we would call him, imagins himself important but it is really she who rules him which is not necessary evil but they are certainly not equals. But we are not supposed to see something wrong in a young, not adult, boy/man and an older women, we are supposed to see the boy as super-lucky. We forget the power imbalance, and we should not forget it. Boys suffer when we think they are already sexualized when they have not even started their internal sexual journey, yet. Naturally it is only opera, so there you have it.

Die Marchallin is noble, Octavian is noble, Sophie is noble and the opera has one of the best endings. Baron Ochs is a bull in a China shop.

Read more, Wikipedia articles: Der Rosenkavalier, Richard Strauss, Empress Maria Theresa, Vienna, nobility.

I have seen this opera 2x: Der Rosenkavalier 1982-05-22, 1990-01-25
For reviews from my travels, see

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