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Strauss, R. (1864-1949)


Der Rosenkavalier

The Cavalier of the Rose





Composed 1909-1910.
First performed January 26, 1911.
Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal (in German).




A Summary of gDer Rosenkavalier (The Cavalier of the Rose)h



Act 1
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 womenfs page clothes.

Ochs asks Marschallin to introduce gthe cavalier of the rose.h 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 loverfs suggestion. But, Marschallin tells him, gYou will leave me for appearance of a younger and more beautiful lady.h

Act 2
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, Sophiefs father, Faninal, attempts to make her marry Ochs.
Then, Ochs receives a letter from Marschallinfs page. He is pleased, and immediately leaves to meet the page at once. This is a trap set by Octavian.

Act 3
In a pub in the suburbs, Ochs meets Octavian who is dressed in womenfs page clothes. Octavian makes fun of Ochs. Sophiefs 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 gDer Rosenkavalier (The Cavalier of the Rose)h



Richard Strauss composed two operas, gSalomeh and gElektra.h These operas were performed successfully. After that, R. Strauss said, gI would like to compose an operas like Mozartfs.h When he composed gElektra,h his friend, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, wrote the libretto. Hofmannsthal wrote the libretto of this opera, gDer Rosenkavalier,h 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 Mozartfs opera, gThe Marriage of Figaro.h And, R. Strauss didnft 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 Verdifs opera. With respect to the music, this opera takes in Wagnerfs orchestration and J. Straussfs waltz style. gDer Rosenkavalierh was performed at the time opera was at its best in Europe.

The most important role is the generalfs wife, Marschallin. The song sung by her expresses her deep feelings. It also expresses this operafs main theme, gpassage of time.h 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 Georg Solti.





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Debussy, C. (1862-1918)
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Strauss, R. (1864-1949)
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