Magazine article Opera Canada

Der Rosenkavalier: R. Strauss

Magazine article Opera Canada

Der Rosenkavalier: R. Strauss

Article excerpt

DER ROSENKAVALIER

R. STRAUSS

Decca: DVD 0743944, Blu-ray 0743945

The final HD broadcast of the Metropolitan Opera's 2017 spring season featured a mixture of finality and new beginnings. Farewells were given by American superstar soprano Renee Fleming, who bid adieu to the Met stage in the role of the Marschallin, and by mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca, who retired the role of Octavian. The new beginning came in the form of this staging by Canadian director/ designer Robert Carsen which replaced the Met's 38-year-old Nathaniel Merrill production.

While Strauss was composing Der Rosettkavalier, the world around him was changing. The Austrian Empire was in decline, and national awakenings were occurring across Europe, bringing new countries to life. This shift from imperialism to nation states, and the formation of new political alliances, laid the groundwork for WWI; Strauss' Austria, and indeed his Europe, were coming to an end. He set Der Rosetikavalier in the mid-1740s, when absolute aristocratic rule was being diluted by the rise of a wealthy business class of landowners and industrialists. This class dichotomy is represented by Baron von Lerchenau, a highborn, self-important aristocrat always looking to finagle funds versus the wealthy self-made man Faninal. Carsen shifts the time period forward, placing the action most appropriately in Strauss' own lifetime. Instead of reflecting political shifts in 18th-century Vienna, we now witness the swansong of the Austrian Empire in the late 19th-century with all the lavishness and decadence of the period. …

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