"James Calvert" wrote:
> "Rosenkavalier" is delightful, of course, and in the Marschallin it plumbs
> some profound depths of human feeling. I love it. But I rank it
> after "Frau" and "Elektra" because it is, over all, a less profound work,
I believe that Rosenkavalier's libretto is one of the best ones Hoffmansthal
The attention to all historical details is so great that you could believe
the libretto is by Goldoni: look at Ochs, whose sexual activism could fit in
"Les liaisons dangereuses" or in a Da Ponte opera. And he is the noble who
has lost most of his fortune (a character we find so often in Goldoni) and
must look for the help of a nouveau riche - der Edle Herr von Faninal. In
his letters Mozart writes that Italians are cunning, faithless and speak bad
German: isn't it Valzacchi and Annina's portrait?
But of course, Hoffmansthal would be less great if he just had written a
XVIII century pastiche: he views the age of Maria Theresia under the
perspective of the XX century man, who has lost all illusions, who knows -as
Spengler wrote - that the '700th century is the apogee of our civilisation,
that after Mozart decadence begins.
And so we have the beautiful morning of act I ending with the Marschallin's
tear, the disruption in act II of Faninal's ernster, grosser, Ehren-
heiliger Tag. And even in act III Sophie doubts if she really has to accept
Oktavian's love. And the Marschallin who in act I asked Oktavian not to be
just like the marschall and Ochs and in act III repeats to have "eine
montierten (what a delightful germanized French!) Kopf gegen die manner"
allows us to see a not too distant future where Sophie in bed with an 17
year old while Oktavian is hunting in Raitzenland.
If I had to go to a desert island this is the Strauss opera I'd bring with
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