Der Rosenkavalier premièred on December 15th at Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp to a roaring success. Below you can find my own notes and a few links to professional reviews (all in German).
“Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose) is an opera by Richard Strauss to an original German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It was first performed in 1911, but the story is set around 1740 and it depicts the often comical (mis)adventures of a young Viennese nobleman torn between his fondness for a much older lover and a blossoming affair with a young girl. Packed full of disguise, deceit, cross dressing and bickering couples, Der Rosenkavalier could be easily mistaken for a nostalgic, lightweight comedy bordering on sentimentality.
The peculiarity of Strauss’ opera is, however, well perceived in Christoph Waltz’ staging for Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp, where melancholy is always a counterpoint to comedy. In the same way, the underlying sorrow born from the older woman’s awareness of time passing by is well balanced by the pure egoistical joy of a blooming new life for the young lovers. Waltz’ mise en scene favours simplicity and immediacy: the scene is almost bare, but it lacks any fancy anachronistic distortion. The minimalism of the stage shifts all focus to the music and the actors, giving them top priority: all the movements, gestures and glances are extremely precise, nevertheless devoid of any constriction, affectation or mechanicism. The result is an open invitation to the public to step on stage, now that its space is free from any useless burden given by scenic or gestual conventions. The Vlaamse Opera audience gladly accepted this invitation and it bestowed a lengthy ovation to this staging of Der Rosenkavalier, thus confirming the success of Herr Waltz’ debut as an opera director. My hearthiest congratulations on the result and the well deserved applause.”
Tickets for Der Rosenkavalier are still available, check out the official website for Vlaamse Opera