Strauss opera closes season

Elīna Garanča as Octavian and Renée Fleming as the Marschallin in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. Picture by Kristian Schuller/Metropolitan Opera.

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BY BILLY SUTER

THE final filmed opera in the current Met: Live in HD season is Strauss’s tragicomic romance, Der Rosenkavalier, starring Renee Fleming.

The production, the New York Metropolitan Opera’ first new staging of the piece since 1969, releases exclusively at Cinema Nouveau and select Ster-Kinekor cinemas on Saturday, June 10, for limited screenings.

Screenings will be at the Ster-Kinekor complex at Gateway in Umhlanga, as well as at Nouveau cinemas in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town. Screenings are scheduled for 5pm on June 10, 2.30pm on June 11, 11.30am on June 13, 6pm on June 20 and 11.30am on June 21.

The opera has a dream cast including Fleming, singing in her final performances of one of her signature roles as the Marschallin, and Elīna Garanča, in her Met role debut as the Marschallin’s young lover, Octavian.

This production also features Günther Groissböck as Baron Ochs, the Marschallin’s oafish cousin; Erin Morley as Sophie, the innocent young woman who comes between the Marschallin and Octavian; Marcus Brück in his Met debut as Sophie’s father, Faninal; and Matthew Polenzani as the Italian Singer.

Erin Morley as Sophie and Günther Groissböck as Baron Ochs in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

In this new staging of Der Rosenkavalier, Robert Carsen, the director of The Met’s recent Falstaff, places the action at the end of the Habsburg Empire, underscoring the opera’s subtext of class and conflict against a rich backdrop of gilt and red damask.

Carsen’s staging features set design by Paul Steinberg, costume design by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, lighting design by Carsen and Peter Van Praet, and choreography by Philippe Giraudeau. Sebastian Weigle conducts the sparklingly perfect score.

The opera premiered at the Court Opera, Dresden, in 1911. Set in an idealised Vienna of the past, Strauss’s most popular opera concerns a wise woman of the world who is involved with a much younger lover, but ultimately is forced to accept the laws of time, giving him up to a pretty young heiress.

Hofmannsthal’s fascinating libretto deftly combines comedy, dreamy nostalgic fantasy, genuine human drama, and light but striking touches of philosophy and social commentary.

Strauss’s score, likewise, works on several levels, combining the refinement of Mozart with the epic grandeur of Wagner.

The running time of the opera is four hours and 12 minutes, including two intervals.

NOTE: Watch a preview of Robert Carsen’s new production of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, starring Renée Fleming and Elina Garanca and conducted by Sebastian Weigle…. click here:  https://youtu.be/ybjPv3TUbcw


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