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Just a brothel for Act 3. Hofmannsthal suggested as setting the early years of Maria Theresa's reign (she came to the throne in 1740 and then had to face the anti-feminist War of the Austrian Succession). Salzburg has preferred 1911, the year of the opera's first performance. Of course the waltzes swing along with contemporary élan, but there are two immediate snags: libretto references to the empress immediately bring a lump to the throat, as the beautiful but wayward 'Sisi' had already been murdered a dozen years before on the shores of Lake Geneva; and the boorish if not brutal Baron is now a military officer far too near the outbreak of World War I to fit comfortably into any aristocratic or mildly comic mould.

A scene from Act III of 'Der Rosenkavalier'. DVD Screenshot © 2004 ORF
A scene from Act III of 'Der Rosenkavalier'. DVD Screenshot © 2004 ORF

 

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Copyright © 1 January 2007 Robert Anderson, London UK

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