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Watch: A first glimpse of The Royal Opera's opulent new production of Der Rosenkavalier

Canadian director Robert Carsen discusses the challenges of staging Strauss's opera and why he has opted to transpose it to the early 20th century.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

12 December 2016 at 3.16pm | 3 Comments

Director Robert Carsen returns to Covent Garden this winter with a major new Royal Opera production of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier.

The production follows two recent successes on the part of the director in London – Dialogues des Carmélites and Falstaff – and while staging both of these operas presented challenges, the task of tackling Strauss's masterpiece is perhaps even greater:

Der Rosenkavalier is a very difficult thing to direct because it is perhaps the social commentary that has ever been written', says the Canadian. 'You’re dealing with a very specific society with very specific codes of behaviour and interaction'.

Carsen and his creative team have been inspired by Strauss's own environment and times, and have opted to set their production in the early years of the 20th century, as World War I loomed and European empires began to crumble:

'In this production we have wanted to set this piece exactly in the time that Strauss wrote it – 1910. We were very inspired by artists and architects of the Vienna Secession.

'In Act I, you're in this somewhat elevated place; in Act II, you're somewhere in between; and in Act III you're in this seedy, trashy bordello where all the characters in the opera appear in this place where none of them should be.

'The whole thing is a symbol for the end of the world. There's a strange farewell to this age of tradition – a less brutal world'.

Subscribe to the Royal Opera House YouTube channel for more behind-the-scenes videos:

Der Rosenkavalier runs 19 December 2016–24 January 2017. Tickets are still available.

The production is a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York, Teatro Regio, Turin, and Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, and is given with generous philanthropic support from The Monument Trust, Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Simon and Virginia Robertson, Susan and John Singer, the Friends of Covent Garden and The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

12 December 2016 at 3.16pm

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by Robert Carsen, Der Rosenkavalier, opera, Production, Richard Strauss, The Royal Opera

This article has 3 comments

  1. Diana Franklin responded on 15 December 2016 at 8:46pm Reply

    I heard on Radio 3 on thurs 15 Dec that der rosenkavalier would be screened in the cinema but cannot find it listed. Please advise.

    • Rose Slavin (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 20 December 2016 at 3:48pm

      Hi Diana,
      Der Rosenkavalier will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 on 14 January 2017 at 5.45pm GMT. It will not be broadcast to cinemas. Find the broadcast details here.
      All best wishes,

  2. Juliet Chaplin responded on 22 January 2017 at 10:09pm Reply

    I understand what Mr Carsen is saying but I saw the production and thought the last act was appalling. None of the characters should be in a cheap tavern; there was no need to wreck things by setting the scene in a brothel. Mr Carsen took a thing of beauty and wrecked it, not to mention leaving the Marschallin hanging about like a spare part while Oktavian and Sophie snogged on the bed. As if! Fortunately the performance was excellent musically, and that is the most important thing.

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