Richard Strauss

Der Rosenkavalier, opera, Op. 59 (TrV 227)

    Description by James Zychowicz

    Some regard Der Rosenkavalier as Strauss' finest opera, and indeed, it has remained consistently popular since its premiere in 1911. Composed during 1909 and 1910 -- immediately after Elektra, Strauss' first collaboration with dramatist Hugo von Hofmannsthal -- Der Rosenkavalier is an original story, conceived jointly by Hofmannsthal and Strauss through extensive correspondence. It represents an intentional departure from Elektra (an adaptation of Sophocles' play) in both substance and tone, and the result is one of the most sophisticated libretti ever written -- full of subtle exchanges and turns of literary phrase. While the story was to have been a farce hinging upon the revelation of the character Mariandel as Octavian, Hofmannsthal developed the libretto into a more complex plot in which the primary narrative concerns the shifting relationship between the Marschallin and Octavian.

    Hofmannsthal cast the drama in three acts, a more traditional scheme than Elektra's extended one-act plan, and perhaps a nod to the work's eighteenth century setting. Strauss also makes use of a conspicuously conservative musical idiom, eschewing the frankly dissonant and often abrasive textures he had used in both Elektra and Salome. At the same time, the orchestration of Der Rosenkavalier is both richer and marked throughout by delicate and shimmering sonorities. Strauss uses waltzes throughout the score to evoke a sentimental mood and to denote the middle-class sensibilities of Baron Ochs. Waltz themes are integral to each act, and the opera's orchestral waltz sequences, along with the more formal Rosenkavalier Suite (1945), remain popular as independent concert works. The opera's most impressive music occurs in the Act Three Trio between Oktavian, Sophie, and the Marschallin. Here, Strauss uses the three women's voices to convey the emotions of a young ingenue, her youthful suitor, and the mature Marschallin to great effect, the orchestra providing a telling underscoring. The static quality of the Trio creates an elegiac mood that at once combines the expression of youthful love with mature restraint.

    Der Rosenkavalier, premiered in Dresden in January 1911, was received with great enthusiasm. The opera has remained a fixture of the stage, as evidenced by new productions in every decade since. Strauss attempted to recapture Der Rosenkavalier's popular appeal in his subsequent stage works; while some, like Arabella (1929-1932), are outstanding, they never eclipsed the successful alchemy of text and music that has ensured Der Rosenkavalier's permanence.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Prelude
    2. Wie du warst! Wie du bist
    3. Der Feldmarschall sitzt im krowatschen Wald
    4. Selbstverständlich empfängt mich Ihro Gnaden
    5. Macht das einen lahmen Esel aus mir?
    6. I komm' glei
    7. Drei arme adelige Waisen
    8. Di rigori armato il seno
    9. Mein lieber Hippotyte
    10. Da geht er hin
    11. Ach, du bist wieder da!
    12. Die Zeit, die ist ein sonderbar Ding
    13. Ein Ernster Tag, ein grosser Tag!
    14. In dieser feierlichen Stunde der Prufung
    15. Mir ist die Ehre wiederfahren
    16. Ich kenn' ihn schon recht wohl
    17. Jetzt aber kommt mein Herr Zukünftiger
    18. Hab' nichts dawider
    19. Mit Ihren Augen voll Tränen
    20. Herr Baron von Lerchenaul
    21. Da lieg' ich!
    22. Da! - Herr Cavalier!
    23. Prelude
    24. Hab'n Euer Gnaden
    25. Nein, nein! I trink' kein Wein
    26. Wie die Stund' hingeht
    27. Halt! Keiner rührt sich!
    28. Ihre hochfürstliche Gnaden
    29. Ist halt vorbei
    30. Mein Gott, es war nicht mehr
    31. Heut oder morgen oder den ubernächsten Tag
    32. Marie Theres'... Hab' mir's gelobt
    33. Ist ein Traum, Finale

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Warner Classics 0190295817459
    2015 Walhall WLCD 0341
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4792686
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon B002013902
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon
    2012 Decca
    2012 Opera Australia OPOZ 56028CD
    2012 Decca 4784161
    2012 Brilliant Classics 9248
    2012 Decca
    2011 Fab Four / Membran 233332
    2011 Brilliant Classics 9249
    2011 Glyndebourne GFOCD 01065
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 001572402
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 477 913-1
    2011 Decca
    2010 Classics & Jazz / Universal Classics & Jazz
    2010 Deutsche Grammophon 4779111
    2010 Naxos Historical 8110277-79
    2010 Opus Arte 9006
    2009 Decca 4781396
    2009 Documents / Documents Classics 231736
    2009 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099996682
    2009 Document / Documents / Documents Classics 221927
    2008 Decca 4759988
    2008 EMI Music Distribution 5676052
    2008 Orfeo / Orfeo D'Or C581083D
    2008 Gala Records 100633
    2008 EMI Classics 11973
    2007 Allegro Corporation 9804
    2007 Opera D'Oro 7046
    2007 Myto Records 00136
    2007 Music & Arts CD1192
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 58618
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 77357
    2006 Opera D'Oro 1466
    2006 Ponto 1039
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Gala Records 619
    2004 Guild Historical 2293/95
    2003 Living Stage 1040
    2003 Living Stage 1029
    2003 Arioso 004
    2003 Decca 000064512
    2003 Caprice Records 22052
    2002 Andante AND3985
    2002 Opera D'Oro 1327
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 463 668-2GOR3
    2001 Golden Melodram 30042
    2001 Golden Melodram 30048
    2001 Decca / London 417493
    2001 Gala Records 610
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 67609
    2000 Decca 467 111-2DMO3
    2000 Gala Records 100606
    2000 Myto Records 2218
    2000 RCA 69431
    1999 Opera D'Oro 1221
    1998 Golden Melodram GM30025
    1997 EMI Music Distribution 56242
    1996 Orfeo 425963
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 56113
    1996 Preiser Records 90218
    1991 EMI Music Distribution 54259
    1990 London 425 950-2DM3
    1990 Pearl GEMMCDS9365
    1990 EMI Music Distribution 749354
    1988 Deutsche Grammophon 423850
    Legato Classics 197
    Golden Melodram 30058
    Lys 019
    Grammofono 2000 794/95
    Della Voce Luna 20013
    Arlecchino 46/48
    Connoisseur Society 60005
    CBS Masterworks / CBS Records 42564
    Deutsche Grammophon 413163
    Denon Records 7482
    6w 49
    Mondo Musica 10707
    Sefel Records 5028