Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier
After scandalizing the opera world with Salome and Elektra—a pair of stark, psychoanalytic portraits of biblical and ancient Greek heroines—Strauss composed this modern drawing-room comedy to great popular acclaim. The work, which follows the sexual indiscretions and romantic entanglements of several aristocratic characters, presents love, desire, and nobility as distinctly double-sided coins: coming-of-age discovery vs. the wisdom of aging, and the thrill of pursuing new desires vs. noble self-sacrifice for the greater good. The score draws on a rich orchestral palette that would come to define the composer’s mature work.
Richard Strauss’s heartfelt comedy stars Renée Fleming and Susan Graham as the Marschallin and Octavian. Edo de Waart conducts the 2010 performance, which also features Christine Schäfer, Sir Thomas Allen, and Kristinn Sigmundsson.