Of the 15 operas composed by Richard Strauss, the fifth, Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose), remains the most popular. After the post-Wagnerian fury of his Salome (1905) and Elektra (1909), Strauss asked his collaborator, the poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929), for a libretto that would be Mozartian in tone. Hofmannsthal provided him with a comedy of manners along the lines of Nozze di Figaro and set in Vienna around 1740.
Strauss surprised his admirers by composing an enchanting score filled with nods to the past. To conjure up a Vienna both eternal and timeless, he wove into his music many waltzes in homage to his Viennese homonyms, the “waltz kings” Johan Strauss, father and son, whom he greatly admired. The suite performed this evening was arranged, with Strauss’s approval, by the conductor Artur Rodzinski.
© 2022 Claudio Ricignuolo
Translation by Craig Schweickert