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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Richasrd Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier

Elizabeth Schwarzkopf as Der Marschallin
Arguably Richard Strauss' most popular score, Der Rosenkavalier premiered in Dresden on this day in 1911.  It is a brilliant balance of delight and melancholy and contains some of the most remarkable music written for the female voice.

Rosenkavalier marked a turning point in Strauss'operatic writing, heralding in a return to a somewhat neo-classical style somewhat removed from his previous operas, Salome and Elektra in particular.

There are many amazing recordings of this ever popular opera, however the soprano most associated with the title role is without doubt Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, pictured above.  Conducted by Herbert von Karajan, the recording remains a classic to this day.  The production was filmed and is a lush reminder of operatic days gone by.

My favourite recording is however the live Salzburg Festspiele, Deutsche Grammaphon issue with Christa Ludwig as the Marschallin and Tatiana Troyanos as a terrifically butch Octavian.  It's conducted by Karl Bohm, who brings out many unexpected beauties that make it sound a lot closer to Salome in composition than one immediately thinks.  The final trio is to die for...

Here of course is the famous Karajan film...the start of the final trio in all its glory...


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