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Oct 23, 2017

The Knight of The Rose

The Knight of the Rose

“One must be light, light of heart, light of hand, holding and taking, holding and letting go.” – the Marschallin, Der Rosenkavalier (tr.: The Knight of the Rose). The Marschallin will be portrayed by Opera diva, Renée Fleming in her final performance singing the big prima donna role, which built her career.

 

Opera in Hong Kong

Given this city’s tastes in fine wines, foods, luxury goods and spaces, it’s little surprise that Hong Kong is also host to a burgeoning cultural scene. The city’s first opera company was established in July 2003, and opera companies and plays have only grown in numbers and popularity, ever since.

 

Collaboration with the Met

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Hong Kong will soon play host to another opera recorded in High Definition and shared direct from the New York Metropolitan Opera House.

Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose, or The Rose-Bearer) is a comic opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to an original German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal and is a Metropolitan Opera live in HD rebroadcast in Hong Kong.

This production stars the fabulous Renée Fleming probably in her final big prima donna role. Der Rosenkavalier is the opera lover’s last chance to see Fleming in Hong Kong, and a great opportunity especially if you missed her last performance in June.

In this production, the action is set in Vienna in 1911, the year of the opera’s premiere.

 

Der Rosenkavalier: The Opera

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The Marschallin is sharing breakfast with her young lover when her boorish cousin enters and announces his upcoming wedding to Sophie, one of the nouveau riche. Traditionally, a young aristocrat should present the lady with a silver engagement rose, and Baron Ochs has come to ask the Marschallin for advice on who that gentleman should be. The lady suggests Octavian himself, who emerges from his hiding place in the guise of a chambermaid.

Ochs is instantly enamoured of the maid, and sets two spies on the task of tracking ‘Mariandel’ down.

Appalled at the thought of her over-amorous cousin marrying an innocent girl, the Marschallin reflects on her own unhappy marriage and her waning youth, rejecting Octavian’s passionate declarations of love and telling him that he would one day leave her for a younger woman, though he refuses to believe that such a thing is possible.

When Octavian later presents the silver rose to Sophie on behalf of Baron Ochs, the two, young people feel an instant attraction to each other… especially when Octavian is contrasted to the crude Ochs. Sophie asks Octavian to help her escape the marriage, and the two share a kiss.

To help Sophie, ‘Mariandel’ dispatches a letter to Ochs assigning a tryst – one that the Baron is delighted to accept.

At the house of ill-repute where the assignation is taking place, a police commissioner interrupts the Baron’s seduction (which is already going rather poorly) and interrogates Ochs as to his intentions towards Mariandel. Ochs declares that he is in fact her fiancée. Sophie and her father arrive on the scene, but Ochs pretends not to know either of them.

Ochs is astonished to discover that Mariandel is in fact Octavian in disguise, but his astonishment turns to thoughts of blackmail when he realizes the real nature of the relationship between the Marschallin and Octavian. The Marschallin, losing all patience, informs her cousin that his marriage plans are finished.

Octavian, Sophie, and the Marschallin are left alone, each one reflecting on what has brought them to this moment. The Marschallin observes the loss of her lover to the younger woman, as she had predicted, and quietly leaves the room. The young lovers are left alone, wondering whether their future together is in fact merely a dream.

Melancholy themes of growing older, the passing of time, and men’s inconstancy interweave with loud good humour and comedic elements. Der Rosenkavalier forms a charming tapestry of ideas.

 

The Production

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The dream cast of Renée Fleming as the Marschallin and Elīna Garanča as Octavian star in Strauss’s grandest opera. Of the performance, the New York Times says, “Ms. Fleming sang Strauss’s fraught lines with an affecting blend of tremulous anxiety and wistful warmth.” Huffington Post adds that “Renée Fleming soars to new heights”, and that “Garanča is splendid as Octavian”.

In his new production, Robert Carsen, the director behind the Met’s recent Falstaff, places the action at the end of the Habsburg Empire, underscoring the opera’s subtext of class and conflict against a rich backdrop of gilt and red damask, in a staging that also stars Günther Groissböck as Baron Ochs.

Sebastian Weigle conducts the sparklingly perfect score.

 

Renée Fleming – the Rose of the Night!

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Born on Valentine’s Day in 1959, Renée Fleming has owned the stage in various roles, during a career spanning four decades. This American opera singer and soprano boasts a repertoire encompassing Richard Strauss, Mozart, Handel, bel canto, lieder, French opera and chansons, jazz and indie rock.

Renée Fleming’s full lyric soprano voice has lent itself to coloratura, lyric, and lighter spinto soprano operatic roles in Italian, German, French, Czech, and Russian, aside from her native English. Her performances include Countess Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Desdemona in Verdi's Otello, Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata, the title role in Dvořák's Rusalka, the title role in Massenet's Manon, the title role in Massenet's Thaïs, the title role in Richard Strauss's Arabella, the Marschallin in Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, and the Countess in Capriccio.

A National Medal of Arts and Richard Tucker Award winner, this Fulbright Scholarship awardee and alumna of Juilliard School has regularly performed in concerts around the world.

Conductor Sir Georg Solti once said of Renée Fleming: "In my long life, I have met maybe two sopranos with this quality of singing; the other was Renata Tebaldi." And really, doesn’t that say it all?!

 

Specifics

On Saturday, November 11, 2017, Mozaic Club, in association with FAMA, Foundation for the Arts and Music in Asia Ltd., will be hosting a showing of Der Rosenkavalier in HK at the Bethanie Theatre in PokFuLam, combined with dinner and drinks at the intermissions.

If you are interested in joining, do contact us via our website or Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/mozaiclub/

or visit our website: www.mozaiclub.com.hk

#Mozaiclub #Der Rosenkavalier #The Knight of The Rose #Renee Fleming #FAMA #HKAPA #Bethanie

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