Log In

Reset Password
Performing Arts

‘Access Hollywood’ redux

Sophie (soprano Erin Morley) is shocked by the flirtatious Baron Ochs (bass-baritone Günther Groissbōck) in the Metropolitan Opera production of Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier.” (Courtesy of Metropolitan Opera)
Another aging Don Juan in ‘Rosenkavalier’ on Saturday at FLC

A big, boorish man boasts about easily seducing pretty young women. Sound familiar?

Substitute an Austrian chambermaid for an American model and you-know-who for Baron Ochs, and you have Act I of “Der Rosenkavalier.”

“The Knight of the Rose” is Richard Strauss’ famous 1911 comic opera. You can see a livestreamed performance from New York’s Metropolitan Opera starting at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Student Union at Fort Lewis College.

The Met Live in HD continues its winning season with a reprise of the lavish 2017 Robert Carsen production. The inimitable Austrian bass-baritone Günther Groissbōck returns as the blowhard Baron. He’s an aging, narcissistic, money-and-power-obsessed cousin to the Princess Marie Therese von Werdenberg (soprano Lise Davidsen) – or the Marschallin.

While the Marschallin’s husband is conveniently away, she is having an affair with 17-year-old Count Octavian (sung as a trouser role by mezzo Samantha Hankey). The old Baron muscles his way past servants to boast about his plan to marry Sophie (soprano Erin Morley), a titled, teenage heiress. But he’s distracted by a comely maid, Count Octavian in disguise – the “Access Hollywood” moment.

If you go

WHAT: The MET: Live in HD will present Richard Strauss’ “Der Rosenkavalier.”

WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday.

WHERE: Vallecito Room of the Fort Lewis College Student Union, 1000 Rim Drive.

TICKETS: $23 general admission, $21 for seniors, students and MET members. Available online at https://bit.ly/3GGBZcC.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.durangoconcerts.com or call 247-7657.

NOTE: Sung in German with English subtitles. Running time: four hours, 30 minutes.

Sophie is appalled by the Baron and refuses to marry him. So, the Marschallin and her lover play decide to play a prank on the old guy. It involves cross dressing, flirting and an agreement to present a silver rose to Sophie later.

Act II progresses to Sophie’s palace for the rose engagement ceremony and more intrigue. Sophie’s wealthy father (bass Brian Mulligan) is an arms dealer, which explains the prevalence of firearms – two massive cannons and servants who open-carry pistols. Sophie greets the odious Baron and meets the gorgeous Octavian. The youngsters immediately fall in love, scrambling the Baron’s plans.

Act III takes place in an inn, or in Director Carsen’s interpretation, a high-class brothel. Here the Baron gets his come-uppance, and the young lovers declare their forever-afters. The lovely but aging Marschallin lets go of her boy toy and laments the passage of time. Some of Strauss’ most beautiful music is saved for the final act.

“Der Rosenkavalier” premiered in 1911 and is a satire of European court behavior. Strauss, who died in 1945 by the way, and his librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, perused Molière’s 1669 play about an amorous old Parisian. “Monsieur de Pourceaugnac.” The subject of Molière’s ballet-comedy, was written for King Louis XIV, and in the Strauss-von Hofmannsthal 20th-century collaboration, the old buffoon reappears as Baron Ochs (German for ox).

Strauss and Hofmannsthal also borrowed from another French satirist, Louvet de Couvray. In the late 18th century, de Couvray satirized the adventures of a young chevalier who happened to have an overzealous sexual appetite and a certain feminine beauty. de Couvray’s handsome chevalier surfaces in the title role of “Der Rosenkavalier.”

To most opera fans, the Princess, the Marschallin, anchors Strauss’ comedy about courtly nonsense.

Note the early start time, 10 a.m.

Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theatre Critics Association.