Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Another Favorite Clip: Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier

von Schuch conducts Der Rosenkavalier
I could not let this day go by un-noticed, my Friendlies.

For on this day in 1911, Dresden's Semperoper debuted Richard Strauss' newest work, Der Rosenkavalier.

Ernst von Schuch, who had previously conducted the premieres of Strauss's Feuersnot, Salome and Elektra conducted the performance. By many accounts, that evening's Rosenkavalier was said to have been the pinnacle of soprano Margarethe Siems career. It is of note that Ms. Siems, who sang this first Marschallin, was also Strauss’ first Chrysothemis in Elektra.

Anyhoo-anyhow ... after a stellar opening, which was praised by critics and the public alike, Rosenkavalier went on to become one of Strauss' most popular works during his lifetime and remains a part of the standard rep of many opera houses today.

In order to mark today's occasion, I thought I would bring you Another Favorite Clip. Well, ok ... considering that I couldn't land on one fave, I am bringing you two. One features stars of recent times past - Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as the Marschallin, Tatiana Troyanos as Octavian and Judith Blegen as Sophie- singing the Final Trio at the Met in 1982. And the other features two current stars - Joyce DiDonato as Octavian and Diana Damrau as Sophie - singing the "Presentation of the Rose" for the 2007 Richard Tucker Gala.

Now, a word about Octavian. For those not acquainted with this type of thing (no judgment, I promise), Octavian is a young man and thus, is played by a mezzo soprano. It's not meant to confuse you, I promise. Indeed, a "pants role" is any male character that is sung by a female singer. Most often the character is an adolescent or a very young man, sung by a mezzo soprano, contralto and on occasion, a male countertenor.

I hope you enjoy these clips - they are simply fantastic!

[Photo above is a painting by Robert Sterl - 1912]

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