Saccharine it may be, but it’s not without its touches of bitterness. This week’s guide is on Der Rosenkavalier, consistently admired and beloved since its first performance. Did Strauss give up the avant-garde struggle after Salome and Elektra? Perhaps not entirely, for Rosenkavalier is innovative in its own ways.
Purcell packed a marvelously rich variety of music into this work’s hour-long duration. Is there a more powerfully moving expression of resignation in the face of death? Its conciseness is an added bonus for a masterpiece that defined English opera for more than three centuries. Continue reading
During the interval at a performance in 1863, Berlioz’s son Louis heard two men discussing the opera, saying that music like this should not be allowed. Is Part Two too long? Rubbish. Part Two contains some of the best music Berlioz ever wrote.
The 19th Century critic Pierre Scudo called Berlioz’s mammoth opera a ‘magnificent failure’. Yet is this all there is to the work, a rare curiosity? Full of delightful and inexhaustible imagination, the work deserves to be better known. Continue reading