“Der Rosenkavalier” by Strauss: true love begets generosity, kindness, and the ability to do the right thing…

MET Opera House building–Lincoln Center/Tuesday December 17th, 2019.

This week, friends, welcome back to another MET Opera’s thrilling evening!

Let’s (re)discover, during this cheerful and peaceful holiday season, one of the most poetic, lush, romantic, erotic, timeless, “farce-like” at times, philosophical and beautiful; complex, and most popular operas ever; composed in 1911, by wonderfully brilliant Richard Strauss; about the power that love generates, in terms of generosity and kindness, which then, naturally, leads spontaneously, our hero(es) to do the right thing, when one truly loves.

Set in mythical 18th century Vienna; “Der Rosenkavalier” is filled at times, with wonderfully melodic and romantic, fictitious inventions, such as the imaginative “noble custom” (the exceptionally poetic presentation of a rose), and Viennese waltz moments, that did not yet exist; all of which, make this opera, truly enchanting and charming.

How about that!

What an immense treat, and truly, a spirited, joyful, and hope-laden way to enjoy, with gusto, the holidays!


This three act operatic masterpiece by Strauss, with an imaginative libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, was inspired by two rich literary pieces, which mold, with unusual flair, the drama and personalities of the opera’s colorful characters:

Molière’s 17th century comic play “Monsieur de Pourceaugnac”, about two young love birds trying to escape an impending wedding, with lots of imaginative “tricks” and “disguises”, is one of the literary inspirations; the other, stems from an erotic, libertine, 18th century novel, by Louvet de Couvray, “Les Amours du chevalier de Faublas”, which both, proved very rich, in shaping “Der Rosenkavalier”‘s plot.

And what exceptionally elegant, sparkling, dazzling, surprising, and at times also, erotically charged production, by Carsen, each time the curtain was raised; set in 1911, and what a sophisticated and simple, and yet, wonderfully eye-catching choreography, from Giraudeau.

Just stunning!

And what virtuosity, what dexterity, from Maestro Simon Rattle, while conducting with passion, this ravishingly beautiful music; and, as for the “star” singers, firstly, Camilla Nylund, the Finnish soprano, depicted beautifully, the lively, elegant, sensual, yet, wise in her years, heroine of this tale, the Marschallin, Princess Marie-Therese von Werdenberg, as she must make decisions in matters of the heart; and so was Magdalena Kožená, the Czech mezzo, as Octavian, Count Rofrano, the Marschallin’s very young, lustful lover, depicted as a “woman” dressed like a man, to pay homage to Mozart’s Cupid; Octavian being first, infatuated with the Marschallin, and then, suddenly, truly love struck, by the beautiful South African soprano, Golda Schultz, playing Sophie, a youthful, spirited, and lovely heiress, herself “promised”/engaged to be married, to the chilling Baron Ochs; he himself, being wonderfully interpreted, by the vivacious, good looking, sensual, yet brutish (for the role) Austrian bass, Günther Groissböck.

Just incredibly spellbinding!

In a nutshell, how to summarize this imaginative plot, in a few words?

“Der Rosenkavalier” is a tale, about the reality of life’s cycles, which revolves around a few colorful, human, and mostly humane characters, trying (especially for the ones, with the best intentions), to actually be able to achieve more compassion, joy and happiness in their lives; which can only happen, as one knows, if they/you built it, with consistent loving actions towards oneself and others, despite our imperfections, but it can be done, no matter what!


And “Der Rosenkavalier”, is a testament to this, as this wonderful opera ends well, and happily for all!



Let me give you some more details:

To me, “Der Rosenkavalier” is really about an “awakening” for all characters, each in its own way, each in its own time, about the importance of letting “goodness” rule their lives, to achieve more light, joy and happiness, for themselves, and for others.


The opera opens up with the Marschallin, Princess Marie-Therese von Werdenberg, a married, middle aged woman, who, after having spent the night, in the company of her dashing young lover, Octavian, whom she truly loves, awakens to an epiphany: even though, she adores her Octavian/”Quinquin”; she suddenly realizes, that she needs to make their relationship evolve, and let him have the future he deserves, with a younger woman, whom he will marry. Suddenly, a visitor is heard, and while her lover hides, and disguises himself as a pretty maid “Mariandel”, the visitor turns out to be, a cousin of the Marschallin, the lewd and philandering Baron Ochs, who comes to ask her advice, about which young aristocrat he should choose, to present his fiancée, Sophie von Faninal, with the traditional silver engagement rose. The Marschallin suggests Octavian, who suddenly, emerges from his hiding place, as the pretty maid “Mariandel”; whom Ochs immediately, starts making advances to, before “Mariandel” escapes. Ochs hires then, two “intriguer” characters to track down the pretty servant, who have come along, to participate to the Marschallin’s “morning levée”. As the rooms clears, Octavian returns, to declare his love to the Marschallin, who tells him, of her “knowing”, that he will one day find a younger woman, he will want, more than her. A hurt Octavian leaves, to meet Ochs fiancée, and is followed by a page, charged with giving Octavian, the silver rose.

Let’s listen to the beautiful aria, about the Marschallin’s philosophical take on the passage of time, melancholic, yet serene, and of course, incredibly beautiful.


Isn’t it just stunning?

By Act II, the most romantic scene, arrives!


Octavian and the pretty Sophie von Faninal, meet; and of course, happily, fall instantly, deeply, deeply, deeply in love.


Let’s listen to this charming and moving duet, set to incredibly stunning music, and let’s actually listen, to two different renditions, from two different eras:

Let’s first, listen to an amazingly beautiful excerpt, from the 1961 “Der Rosenkavalier” film, by Czinner.

So elegant, and contained, I love it.


Let’s now, listen to a more modern rendition, by two current and incredibly talented singers, whom I also admire, immensely; and who, for one of them, explains well, in my mind, in a “prelude” before they both sing, the importance, and the unbelievably romantic feelings, this scene is infused with:



Isn’t it also incredibly moving?

I so love it!


Baron Ochs arrives then, and his crude manners, shock both Sophie and Octavian. All sorts of comic nonsense and confusion, then arises between all three characters; and Sophie tells her father that she will never marry the Baron; while Octavian himself now, “hires” the two intriguing characters (who were working for Baron Ochs), to help devise a plan, to prevent Ochs from marrying Sophie. Ochs then, receives a note from “Mariandel” (the Marschallin’s pretty “maid”, who is no other, than Octavian, in “disguise”) asking for a rendez-vous, the next evening.

By Act III, at a house of ill reputation, the two “intriguing” characters working now for Octavian, prepare then, for the Baron’s rendez-vous with “Mariandel”/Octavian. Ochs arrives, and then begins his “seduction” of the pretty “maid”. All sorts of fun, slapstick humour and mayhem ensues, and a police commissioner enters, to attempt to restore order. Ochs declares that “Mariandel”/Octavian is his fiancée. Then, Sophie, her father, and even the Marschallin, arrive; and Ochs understands that his initial plan to marry Sophie is over, and he exits. Octavian, Sophie, and the Marschallin, are left alone, and the Marschallin with kindness and dignity, lets the love birds know, that she wishes them, the best possible future, filled with joy and happiness.

Let’s finally, listen to the beautiful aria, an incredible trio, that encapsulates that incredibly powerful, and incredibly inspiring moment, of generosity, goodness, and goodwill, between these three characters, who find new, and beautiful ways, of relating to each other.

How about that!


But before we do that, let’s first, reflect on the Marschallin’s wonderful epiphany, her goodness and generosity, which say a lot, about the importance of a sunny smile, of kindness, and trying to strive for just a little more joy, compassion, happiness for oneself, and for others, in life; to make the world a better place; as these beautiful quotes, remind us all.

Aren’t these wonderful?

Let’s now, listen to the final beautiful trio, from “Der Rosenkavalier”:


Finally, the two lovers are left alone, and can hardly believe, that, finally, a beautiful future, awaits them, together.


And this reminds me, that Octavian and Sophie, should feel, just immensely elated, and as happy, as these two other love birds do, in a beautiful excerpt from the 1954 “White Christmas” film, by Curtis; who all know, that one should count their blessings in life, to make life, well, just grand!



And finally, because we are in the middle of the holidays, and I will be back writing my next post, by mid January, I wanted to wish everyone, wonderful and happy holidays, as 2019 comes to a close; and of course, as well, a Happy New Year!

And to celebrate Strauss, once more, I would like to share some germanic and anglo saxon (and mostly, holiday related) music, from various eras.

Why not?

I am sure, Strauss would love that!

Let’s first, start with relaxing medieval music, sung by wonderfully talented musicians:


Let’s now, listen to a wonderful germanic Christmas lullaby, by an amazing soprano:


And now, let’s listen to three other beautiful Christmas tunes.

First, I always love this one, that brings so much peace to my soul, still by the same wonderfully group of musicians.


And finally, my two very favorite songs during the holidays, the first is a piece by Biebl, which Strauss would have loved as well, I am sure, still by the same group of talented singers.

The second, is the most joyful Christmas hymn for me: “Joy to the world” of course!



Isn’t it the best, and so upbeat!


I love it!

Merry Christmas and Happy holidays to all!






Eternal butterflies 😊