Home > The Cavalier of the Rose
First performed January 26, 1911.
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal (in German).
|A Summary of “Der Rosenkavalier (The Cavalier
of the Rose)”
In the middle of the 18th century, at the house of the
general in Vienna, when the general was out, his wife, Marschallin, spent the
night with her young and beautiful lover, Count Octavian. Early next morning, a
rural aristocrat, Baron Ochs, visits Marschallin. Ochs is salacious, he
attempts to seduce Octavian who dressed in era women’s page clothes.
Ochs asks Marschallin to introduce “the cavalier of the rose.” Ochs is
engaged to a young lady, Sophie, who is a daughter of a rich aristocrat,
Faninal. So, Ochs needs to send her a silver rose by a cavalier. Marschallin
suggests Octavian. Ochs agrees with this suggestion, and leaves. Octavian
complains about his lover’s suggestion. But, Marschallin tells him, “You
will leave me for appearance of a younger and more beautiful lady.”
Octavian as the cavalier of the rose visits Sophie, and they fall in
love with each other. Ochs also visits Sophie. She dislikes Ochs who is indecent.
But, Sophie’s father, Faninal, attempts to make her marry Ochs.
Then, Ochs receives a letter from Marschallin’s page. He is pleased, and
immediately leaves to meet the page at once. This is a trap set by Octavian.
In a pub in the suburbs, Ochs
meets Octavian who is dressed in women’s page clothes. Octavian makes fun of
Ochs. Sophie’s father, Faninal, is completely disgusted with Ochs. Then, Marschallin
appears. She admonishes Ochs to give up Sophie, and to go home.
Now, in the room, there are three people, Marschallin, Octavian, and Sophie.
Octavian is puzzled by what to do in front of the two ladies. Then, Marschallin
decides to leave the room quietly. After that, the young lovers, Octavian
and Sophie, pledge their love for each other.
|A Comment on “Der Rosenkavalier (The Cavalier
of the Rose)”
|Richard Strauss composed two operas, “Salome” and “Elektra.”
These operas were performed successfully. After that, R. Strauss said, “I would
like to compose an operas like Mozart’s.” When he composed “Elektra,” his
friend, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, wrote the libretto. Hofmannsthal wrote the
libretto of this opera, “Der Rosenkavalier,” too. In this opera, a man needs to
send his fiancee a silver rose by a cavalier. This is a made-up story. But,
this story is the important starting point of this opera.
The relationship between Marschallin and Octavian in this opera is
similar to the relationship between the Countess and Cherubino
in Mozart’s opera, “The Marriage of Figaro.” And, R. Strauss didn’t composed
the character of Baron Ochs as a mere comedian, but as a person who has rich sense of
humanity. Baron Ochs is similar to Falstaff in Verdi’s opera. With respect to
the music, this opera takes in Wagner’s orchestration and J. Strauss’s waltz
style. “Der Rosenkavalier” was performed at the time opera
was at its best in Europe.
The most important role is the
general’s wife, Marschallin. The song sung by her expresses her deep feelings.
It also expresses this opera’s main theme, “passage of time.” And, the scene of
first encounter with Octavian and Sophie is one of the most wonderful scenes of
all operas. The trio by Marschallin, Octavian and Sophie is used for the funeral
of R. Strauss as stated in his last will. This beautiful trio was conducted by Sir
|Gluck, C. W. (1714-1787)
- Orpheus and Eurydice
Mozart, W. A. (1756-1791)
- The Marriage of Figaro
- Don Giovanni
- Cosi fan tutte
- The Magic Flute
Beethoven, L. v. (1770-1827)
Weber, C. M. v. (1786-1826)
- The Magic Bullets
Rossini, G. (1792-1868)
- The Barber of Seville
Donizetti, G. (1797-1848)
- The Elixir of Love
Verdi, G. (1813-1901)
- Il trovatore
- La Traviata
- Un ballo in maschera
- Don Carlo
Wagner, R. (1813-1883)
- The Flying Dutchman
- Tristan und Isolde
- Die Meistersinger von Nuernberg
- The Rhinegold
- Die Walkure
- Twilight of the Gods
Offenbach, J. (1819-1880)
- The Tales of Hoffmann
Strauss, J. (1825-1899)
- Die Fledermaus (The Bat)
Bizet, G. (1838-1875)
Tchaikovsky, P. J. (1840-1893)
- Eugene Onegin
Massenet, J. (1842-1912)
Humperdinck, E. (1854-1921)
- Hansel and Gretel
Puccini, G. (1858-1924)
- La Boheme
- Madama Butterfly
Leoncavallo, R. (1858-1919)
Mascagni, P. (1863-1945)
- Cavalleria Rusticana
Debussy, C. (1862-1918)
- Pelleas et Melisande
Strauss, R. (1864-1949)
- The Cavalier of the Rose
|Copyright (C) 2005-2015 Yusuke Kamiki. All Rights Reserved.