Tag: Der Rosenkavalier

I’m thinking about emailing Steve Reich

I spent the afternoon trying to figure out whether the person who did these track divisions  a) is part of the tinfoil hat wing of opera fandom, who thinks, for example, that one ought to be able to catch the Marschallin in mid-word to truly appreciate the subtleties of the performanc b) knows something I do not about this opera c) used a silence-finder in some program like Audacity, but fucked up the settings such that they find silences between the heartbeats of hummingbirds on Mars or something like that.  

On the bright side, I have become much more closely acquainted with the libretto than I was previously. 

Also, now that I have Der Rosenkavalier cut up into tiny pieces, I can create little loops of the Marschallin saying “stop the clocks” over and over, or Sophie squeaking out “Himmel!” and make myself some little pomo short pieces or something. I guess. 

Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier / Glyndebourne 6-8-14

I very nearly missed seeing this. It was broadcast on the same day as Röschmann’s Wigmore Hall recital, and that pushed it out of first place on the operatic priority list, and then despite knowing that Glyndebourne had put the video up for a week, I managed to forget about it for about six and a half days. But fortunately I remembered late on Saturday night. Anyway.

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Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier / Metropolitan Opera, 1982 (3)

(Previous section here.)

Or I guess it is a discussion of one’s relationship with the past, kind of. It occurred to me as I was watching this that Ochs has in a sense what the Marschallin claims at one point to want – he lacks awareness of growing old, or at least he lacks awareness that his escapades are crass and ridiculous. Damn Hofmannsthal and his subtle libretto.

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Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier / Metropolitan Opera, 1982 (2)

(Previous section here.)

Seeing older performances of this opera make me appreciate some of the others I’ve seen all the more (e.g. that one from Zurich in 2004 with Kasarova, Stemme and Hartelius). And the other way around too, I guess. One of the things that struck me about this version from the Met is that while it’s very big and visually detailed, it’s not a production that seems to be interested in making any use of all that detail.

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Strauss – Der Rosenkavalier / Metropolitan Opera, 1982 (1)

Did you know that they borrowed the silver rose used in this production from Covent Garden? I didn’t know this until just now – I was looking through the booklet because I was curious to see whether the video direction was by the ubiquitous Brian Large, who I am at this point convinced is not one man but rather a sinister collective of some kind. The fine print at the back of the booklet indicates the provenance of the rose, but Large is nowhere to be found. This is like one of those things in a Haruki Murakami novel, where some small and yet significant detail indicates that the world has been subtly shifted in some new direction. Whether the detail is Large’s absence, or whether the detail would have been his presence is difficult to determine. If I were a character in a Murakami novel what I’d probably do now is prepare a simple meal out of a very specific list of ingredients and eat it while listening to one of Vivaldi’s chamber pieces on the radio and drinking a cold beer, but since I’m not a character in a Murakami novel, I will be eating leftover black bean chili and writing about a Strauss opera.

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Der Rosenkavalier / Stemme, Kasarova, Hartelius et al. / Zurich Opera 2004 (3)

[parts one and two here and here.]

It is a curious fact that I managed to write nearly 1200 words about this production without actually saying anything about Malin Hartelius, who sings the role of Sophie. This will not do at all. I got distracted by Stemme’s voice and Kasarova’s acting, but this does mean that Hartelius’s performance was not worth hearing.

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Der Rosenkavalier / Stemme, Kasarova, Hartelius et al. / Zurich Opera 2004 (2)

[part one and discussion of the production here.]

The Marschallin in this production is Nina Stemme, who I had heard before on DVD as Aida. Aida is not my favorite opera by a long shot, and this may have caused me not to register how nice Stemme sounded. But she has what I would call the perfect sort of voice for the Marschallin.

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Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier / Pieczonka, Kirchschlager, Persson et al.

This is a production from Salzburg in 2004. The action has been moved up to the early twentieth century, probably the 1920s to guess from the costumes. I’m not sure what the production designers were going for with this. I don’t mean that there’s anything wrong about the concept – just that I’m not sure what if anything specific is communicated thereby. Certainly it makes the Marschallin’s religious language in Act I (and Sophie’s in Act II) jump out far more than it would in a production staged in the eighteenth century (which is what I think Strauss and Hofmannsthal originally imagined). But again, I’m not sure whether this is deliberate, or even important.

Act I takes place, of course, in the Marschallin’s room, which in this instance is a very boudoiry boudoir. The walls, covers and upholstery are all deep red, and there are two plates of what looks like half-eaten pie on the floor and the bench at the end of the Marschallin’s bed. We can all probably figure out what the pie is doing there.

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