Renée Fleming Performs One of her Greatest Signature Roles The Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier On the Season Finale of Great Performances at the Met Sunday, September 3 at 12 p.m. on PBS
Elīna Garanča, Erin Morley, Günther Groissböck, Markus Brück and Matthew Polenzani round out the lustrous cast conducted by Sebastian Weigle
The Met’s first new production since 1969 of Strauss’s rich, romantic masterpiece stars Renée Fleming in one of her signature roles as the Marschallin, opposite Elīna Garanča as Octavian, the impulsive young title character, on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, September 3 at 12 p.m. on PBS. (check local listings)
(In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera at 12:30 p.m.)
Conducted by Sebastian Weigle and directed by Robert Carsen, whose most recent Met production was the hit 2013 staging of Falstaff, the cast also includes Günther Groissböck as Baron Ochs, Erin Morley as Sophie, Markus Brück as Faninal, and Matthew Polenzani as the Italian Singer.
The opera premiered in Dresden, 1911. Set in an idealized Vienna of the past, Strauss’s most popular opera concerns a wise woman of the world who is involved with a much younger lover but ultimately forced to accept the laws of time, giving him up to a pretty young heiress. Hofmannsthal’s fascinating libretto deftly combines comedy, dreamy nostalgic fantasy, genuine human drama, and light but striking touches of philosophy and social commentary. Strauss’s magnificent score, likewise, works on several levels, combining the refinement of Mozart with the epic grandeur of Wagner.
Richard Strauss (1864–1949) composed an impressive body of orchestral works and songs before devoting the second half of his long and productive career to the stage. His 1909 opera Elektra marked his first collaboration with Viennese author and poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874–1929), who would go on to write five other librettos for Strauss over the following 20 years, in one of the most remarkable partnerships in theater history.
The opera is originally set in Vienna in the 1740s. Genuine historical references are merged with fictitious inventions (like the “noble custom” of the presentation of the silver rose to a fiancée, which never actually existed) and anachronisms (like the Viennese Waltz, which did not yet exist at that time). It’s a mixture that creates a seductive mythical landscape, a ceremonious and impossibly beautiful Vienna-that-never-was. The Met’s new production moves the setting to the last years of the Habsburg Empire.
Critics raved when the production premiered earlier this year. The Huffinton Post said this was “(a) Rosenkavalier not to be missed … Renée Fleming soars to new heights,” while The Washington Post observed, “Elīna Garanča sang like warm gold as the 17-year-old, hormonal, lovestruck Octavian … Ardent, coltish, and radiantly sung.”
The New York Times declared, “Fleming should be proud of the magnificent performance she gave…The sweet-voice Erin Morley makes an utterly charming Sophie … Günther Groissböck’s muscular sound and declamatory style are perfect … Sebastian Weigle led a distinguished performance.”
Tenor Matthew Polenzani hosts the broadcast.
Production: Robert Carsen. Set Designer: Paul Steinberg. Costume Designer: Brigitte Reiffenstuel. Lighting Designer: Robert Carsen, Peter Van Praet. Choreographer: Philippe Giraudeau.
Der Rosenkavalier was originally seen live in movie theaters on May 13 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in over 70 countries around the world. The Live in HD series has reached a record-breaking 22 million viewers since its inception in 2006.
Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.
Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. Major funding for the Met Opera presentation is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. This Great Performances presentation is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, The Agnes Varis Trust, Ellen and James S. Marcus, and public television viewers.
For the Met, Gary Halvorson directs the telecast. David Frost is Music Producer. Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.
Visit Great Performances online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information on this and other Great Performances programs.
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About the Met
THE METROPOLITAN OPERA is America’s leading performing arts organization and a vibrant home for the world’s most creative and talented artists, including singers, conductors, composers, orchestra musicians, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers, and dancers. The company presents more than 200 performances each season of a wide variety of operas, ranging from early masterpieces to contemporary works. In recent years, the Met has launched many initiatives designed to make opera more accessible, most prominently the Live in HD series of cinema transmissions, which dramatically expands the Met audience by allowing select performances to be seen in more than 2,000 theaters in more than 70 countries around the world.