by Richard Strauss
Sung in German with English Subtitles
An NCPA-The Metropolitan Opera (New York) Presentation
Richard Strauss composed an impressive body of orchestral works and songs before devoting the second half of his long and productive career to the stage. 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 is ultimately forced to accept the laws of time, giving him up to a pretty young heiress. Hugo von 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 magnificent score, likewise, works on several levels, combining the refinement of Mozart with the epic grandeur of Wagner. Genuine
historical references are merged with fictitious inventions (like the “noble custom” of the presentation of the silver rose to a fiancée, which never actually existed) and anachronisms (like the Viennese Waltz, which did not yet exist at that time). It is a mixture that creates a seductive mythical landscape, a ceremonious and impossibly beautiful Vienna-that-never-was. The Met’s current production moves the setting to the last years of the Habsburg Empire.
Conductor: Simone Young
Cast: Lise Davidsen, Isabel Leonard, Erin Morley, Katharine Goeldner, René Barbera, Thomas Ebenstein, Markus Brück & Günther Groissböck
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