Richard Strauss

Der Rosenkavalier

17 May - 3 July 2014
Festival 2014
This production has ended

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Glyndebourne’s 80th-anniversary season opens with Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, not seen at Glyndebourne since 1982, in a new staging by Richard Jones, with Robin Ticciati, the company’s new Music Director, conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

After shocking the opera world with Salome and Elektra, Richard Strauss seduced it with Der Rosenkavalier, first performed in 1911. He and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal fashioned the most beguiling of all romantic farces, its nostalgic flavour crystallised in the elegant, sensuous waltzes which pervade and define the score.

The married, middle-aged Marschallin chooses her young lover Octavian as Rose Cavalier, bearer of the ceremonial silver rose to Sophie, the teenage fiancée of Baron Ochs, the Marschallin’s crude country cousin. But Octavian and Sophie fall in love at first sight, setting off a chain of boisterous comic intrigues that gradually yield to a bittersweet meditation on the evanescence of love and time.

The opera’s hero – the Rose Cavalier – was modelled on Mozart’s Cherubino and tailored ‘for a graceful girl dressed up as a man,’ as Hofmannsthal wrote. Poised between youth and maturity, Octavian’s voice hovers between soprano and mezzo, that timbre so perfect at embodying adolescence and androgyny. Strauss, famously enamoured of the female voice, lavished his most sumptuous music on Octavian and the two sopranos who complete the Rosenkavalier love triangle. Irish mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught makes her role debut as Octavian, while Kate Royal, who began her career in the Glyndebourne Chorus, returns in her role debut as the Marschallin, and Teodora Gheorghiu makes her Glyndebourne debut as Sophie.

A new production for the 2014 Festival
Sung in German with English supertitles

Listen to the Der Rosenkavalier podcast:

Supported by The Monument Trust

Filming sponsored by The Gidlow-Jackson Family

By kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd

Der Rosenkavalier (recorded at the 1965 Festival) is available on the Glyndebourne CD label

Act I

The Marschallin and her young lover Octavian have spent the night together. The Marschallin’s servant Mohammed arrives with breakfast and Octavian hides. When loud voices are heard just outside the room, the Marschallin believes that her husband has returned unexpectedly and Octavian hides again. He reappears disguised as a chambermaid, ‘Mariandel’, just before the sudden arrival of Baron Ochs, the Marschallin’s cousin, who has come to discuss his engagement to young Sophie von Faninal, daughter of a wealthy merchant who has been recently elevated to the nobility. Ochs asks the Marschallin to recommend a young man to deliver the traditional silver engagement rose to Sophie. She suggests Octavian, showing Ochs his picture, and Ochs, noticing his resemblance to ‘Mariandel’, assumes she is Octavian’s illegitimate sister. Ochs propositions ‘Mariandel’, who evades him and flees
as soon as possible.

The Marschallin holds her morning levee. An Italian tenor sings to her while Ochs works on his marriage contract with the Marschallin’s notary. An Italian scandal-monger, Valzacchi, tries to sell the Marschallin the latest scandal sheets. Interrupting
the tenor’s song, Ochs commands the notary to demand a dowry from Sophie’s family. Valzacchi and his niece Annina offer their services to Ochs. 

After her visitors leave, the Marschallin recalls her own early marriage and muses on her fleeting youth and the inconstancy of men. Octavian returns in his own clothing, and she tells him that one day he will leave her, which he resists. She sends Octavian away but then realises that she has forgotten to kiss him goodbye. She sends servants after him, but he is already gone. The Marschallin summons Mohammed to take the silver rose to Octavian to deliver to Sophie.

Act II

Faninal and his daughter Sophie await the arrival of the rose bearer. As her duenna Marianne reports on the approach of Octavian, Sophie worries over her impending marriage to a man she has never met, Octavian arrives and presents the silver rose to Sophie, and the two youngsters become infatuated.

After a conversation chaperoned by Marianne, Sophie and Octavian are joined by Ochs and Faninal. Though they have never officially met, Ochs is overly familiar with Octavian and goes on to inspect Sophie like property. Ochs’s followers chase Faninal’s staff, causing an uproar. Octavian promises to help Sophie, and the two embrace. They are discovered by Valzacchi and Annina, who report it to Ochs, who is merely amused, considering Octavian no threat. Octavian challenges Ochs to a duel. In the fight, Ochs is slightly wounded but cries bloody murder. Sophie tells her father she will never marry Ochs. But Faninal insists, threatening to send Sophie to a convent, and ejects Octavian. Ochs, left alone, is cheering himself with a drink when Annina arrives bearing a letter for Ochs from ‘Mariandel’ requesting a rendezvous.


Valzacchi and Annina have transferred their allegiance to Octavian and help him prepare a trap for Baron Ochs at the site of his imminent meeting with ‘Mariandel’. Ochs arrives and attempts to seduce the chambermaid, but is unnerved by her resemblance to Octavian. The antics of Octavian’s accomplices make Ochs think he is hallucinating. Then Annina, in disguise, enters with a gaggle of children, claiming that Ochs is her husband and the children’s’ father. The police arrive and, to avoid a scandal, Ochs claims that ‘Mariandel’ is his fiancée Sophie. Octavian secretly lets the Police Inspector in on the plot. Faninal arrives, irate to be embroiled in such a scandal, and he sends for the real Sophie. When the Marschallin enters, the Police Inspector recognises her, having once served as her husband’s orderly. Octavian emerges, in his own clothes, and the Marschallin sends the police and all the others away. Ochs finally comprehends the truth about the Marschallin and Octavian/Mariandel. He tries to maintain his engagement to Sophie, but the Marschallin insists that he leave Vienna gracefully. Ochs departs, pursued by creditors. 

The Marschallin, Sophie and Octavian are now alone. As Octavian is caught between the two women, the Marschallin understands that the day she predicted has come. She leaves to talk with Faninal. Sophie and Octavian enjoy a moment alone before leaving together. Mohammed runs in to retrieve a lost article of clothing.

Creative Team

Conductor Robin Ticciati
Director Richard Jones 
Set Designer Paul Steinberg
Costume Designer Nicky Gillibrand
Movement Director Sarah Fahie
Lighting Designer Mimi Jordan Sherin


Octavian Tara Erraught
The Marschallin Kate Royal 
Baron Ochs auf Lerchenau Lars Woldt
Sophie Teodora Gheorghiu 
Herr von Faninal Michael Kraus
Marianne Leitmetzerin Miranda Keys
Valzacchi Christopher Gillett 
Annina Helene Schneiderman
Notary Gwynne Howell 
Italian Singer Andrej Dunaev 
Innkeeper Robert Wörle
Police Commissioner Scott Conner 

London Philharmonic Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus

"...Richard Jones, the operatic individualist par excellence, who has given this great work the production it deserves.”
Rated 5* by What's On Stage

"This is a Rosenkavalier for today"
Rated 5* by Music OMH

“The visuals - notably the sets by Paul Steinberg, Nicky Gillibrand’s costumes and Mimi Jordan Sherin’s lighting - are extraordinarily accomplished, adding to the wit and atmosphere of the whole presentation.”
Read it at The Stage 

“The performance is so deftly and entertainingly executed that not even the stuffiest traditionalist could object.”
Rated 4* by the Financial Times


Very good – but not great. Vocally, a truly wonderful Octavian but in terms of character I don’t think the Octavian / Marschallin characterisation was correctly specified by Mr. Jones, such that the final trio did not have the emotional pull that should be there when the depth of the Marschallin’s sacrifice becomes clear. Kate Royal had the accuracy and the hauteur but not, I think, the depth of a truly great Marschallin. And the presentation of the rose was downright shabby (and Muhammed returns to rescue Sophie’s handkerchief not the Marschallin’s stole…). But the placement of Ochs was excellent (and superbly sung…), the rose in the derriere and the scenes in the tavern (which can be excruciating) were brilliantly handled. Having suffered a Rosenkavalier of glacial slowness from Thielemann it was great to hear a properly paced Rosenkavalier a la Kleiber from Maestro Ticciati. One to watch, to be sure…

This must be the most fabulous entertainment devised by man! Beg, buy, borrow or steal to get a ticket! The production and design is both clever and beautiful, and neatly avoids any sweet/sickliness that is sometimes apparent in Late German Romanticism. The voices are simply superb, rich and clear, especially Octavian and Baron Ochs, the latter cast somewhat younger and slimmer than usual. Octavian is also a great actor, and totally believable in character. The central, wonderful trio was positively ecstatic, and the tempi and orchestral playing richly coloured and perfectly right, supporting and emphasising the voices with sensitivity and providing luscious sound. From the delightful and original opening scene, (provoking a gasp from some members of the audience) to the whimsical ending, after a quite briskly executed duet between Octavian and Sophie (perfectly judged - nicely "naive" and young sounding, lovely) this was the most wonderful evening/afternoon of opera one could imagine or hope for. To cap it all, we had perfect June weather, in the most idyllic of Sussex gardens. What more could one ask? All I can say, is thank you all to the company for memories I shall never forget.

Intelligent, funny, poignant and beautifully sung and acted. Tara Erraught's Octavian is outstanding, and the physical contrast between "Mariandel" and Sophie points up Ochs' character as an ignorant, blustering, charmless would-be Don Giovanni even more vividly than usual: "Size and shape doesn't matter, anyone who wears a skirt will do."

Thirty five years plus of coming to Glyndebourne and one of the most outstanding performances of them all! The innovative set complemented the humour and characters. The musicality was unrivalled. Laughter throughout and tears during the duets and trios at the end with lyrics perfectly matching the voices which were in a realm of their own. Rarely is there a performance with so many exceptional singers. A faultless production to celebrate Glyndebourne's 80th anniversary. ps Kate Royal and Teodora Gheorghiu must only be allowed to leave if they agree to come back next season.

Thursday 19th. Perfection. When this run ends I may join Mariandl in a suicide pact.

Bravo. A great Glyndebourne production. I have now seen it at Glyndebourne 3 times and went to the Cinema last Sunday. Yes the production is quirky but it works. As for the singing - some of the best I have heard at Glyndebourne for a long time. I would put Kate Royal as the Marschallin above that of Renee Flemming and as for Tara Erraught her Octavian matched those of Minton, Howells, Flott and Fassbaender etc. She souded so experienced you would not have thought it was a role debut. Can we please have a revival soon and preferably with the same cast

Sunday was my first rear standing ticket of the season. Production seemed almost glitch-free and the sound, especially the voices, is glorious up there. Sophie 'pinged' her exposed high notes to absolute perfection. Ochs refrained from breaking anything. Standing for over three hours is no problem, even for a 67 year old like me, when the performance is so gripping.

The third act seems to have been attacked by gremlins. The two performances at which cameras were present suffered from some intransigent scenery. Tonight the scenery appeared to have been fixed but Ochs rather appropriately for his name smashed a glass on stage then had to put his shoes on to go to bed to avoid cutting his feet. This made a very funny scene absolutely hysterical. I think the elf n safety people need to look at the issue of real glass on stage especially when there are ochsen present. Notwithstanding the above I am, having seen every public performance of this production so far, finding I am still enjoying it more on each viewing. I shall be gutted when the run ends. I hope plans are already afoot for a revival but the casting team are going to have a very hard job following these singers. Just re-hire the same principals I suggest.

I have always come away from Rosenkavalier with a great feeling of euphoria. Not so this time. A really perverse production, full of incomprehensible (pointless?) business, including an obsession with moving chairs around into lines, a cramped staging, a totally unnecessary and crude opening....all distracting from the music. Glyndebourne, you seem to have given up doing opera the way I would like to see it. I can't be alone.

A magic performance by all. One of the great ones - well done everyone! Our new Music Director has set a very high standard.
(8th June)

The performances on 5th and 8th June departed from Richard Jones's original production and I was most impressed with the improvisational skills of all those on stage. Gripping stuff. But may I make a plea that we go back to the original for the rest of the run.

pour une fois pas d'allusions politiques mal venues! des Chanteuses et des chanteurs superbes , surtout Octavian pour lequel on s'interroge sur certains réflexions ou remarques sur son apparence physique-L'orchestre de feu splendidement dirigé par un chef qui ne couvre pas les voix, le jeu des acteurs réellemnt magnifique dans tous les détail dont peu échappent depuis le Rang B of the Stalls- des costumes et décors assez surréalistes et fantasmagoriques---
Bravo Bravo!des trois français présent à cette soirée du 5 juin 2014

Despite some good singing, the most disappointing evening I've ever had at Glyndebourne... hated the ugly and stupid production. What on earth were you all thinking!?

Two absolutely wonderful evenings at Glyndebourne! Eugene Onegin absolutely out of the top drawer, perhaps the best performance we have ever seen on stage(and we have seen a great many). Rosenkavalier a refreshingly fresh take, but done with fidelity to the original intentions, and superb performances all round. Opera such as one dreams of, but seldom experiences. Congratulations, Glyndebourne!

Will there be a special link posted to view the live broadcast on the day of the performance June 8th?

So June came in warm and still with Santiago clearly having some initial problems hoisting his kite. Inside, audiences seem to have taken this production and cast to their hearts. Santiago and co along with Ticciati provide luscious support, moving things on splendidly. For the first time there was audience applause during the performance. Not for the wonderful Italian tenor. For the inspired production detail of Ochs whipping off his wig!

Much too much has already been said about body shape this summer but having been near the front of the stalls yesterday I must say that the sight of Lars Woldt ineffectually trying to hitch his long johns around his non-existent waist made my eyes water and I was clearly not alone to judge by the waves of barely-suppressed titters which I heard from behind me. Largely female titters I judged. The whole thing is wonderful but this Ochs alone is worth the price of the ticket. What a voice and what an actor. Maybe Strauss should have called the opera 'Ochs auf Lerchenau' as he originally intended.

Will the streaming be available to view after the live boradcast ?

Had the weather on Saturday been anything like Sunday this would have been perfection. As it was perfection stayed indoors. The Glyndebourne audience has been immaculately quiet this year but erupted at the end and chucked cartloads of flowers on to the stage to the obvious delight of the singers. I thought this splendidly Viennese and should like to express my gratitude to the audience for bringing the evening to such an appropriate conclusion.

Saturday 24th May performance: Rosenkavalier comes into one of the top 10 of all the Glyndebourne productions I've seen over the years (Pelleas et Melisande will always remain no.1 for me - a revival please!). Naturally we had noted the furore concerning Tara Erraught but since the opera pivots on cross dressing antics where the audience has to suspend belief that Ochs couldn't recognise Octavian dressed as a chambermaid then any criticism about body shape becomes totally irrelevant and non-sensical. Production a little quirky for some tastes perhaps but well within the bounds of acceptability even for the most conservative of opera-goers (which we cannot say for last year's "Ariadne"). Plenty of roses hurled onto the stage at the final curtain much to the delight of the performers - and the whooping audience.
We were in the Upper Circle Red Slips which meant we had no vision of the left side of the stage. A little disappointing - but hey, we paid £60 a seat so can't complain especially when stalls are £250 a pop. Back in a couple of weeks for Don Giovanni. Warmer weather then we hope. Another good show Glyndebourne!

The great thing about sell-out productions is that Glyndebourne take back really cheap tickets for re-sale! Having seen both the performances so far I am now up to 10 tickets for this production this season. I am on holiday when the others are on. That should indicate what I think of it. All the voices are entirely appropriate for their roles. Quite a promotion for Tara from Sandman to Octavian but richly deserved. Could be my favourite female voice since Jurinac. I think I would have preferred Angharad Morgan as Sophie but that is just personal taste.

I was only occasionally amused; I was never emotionally moved. I was,however,intrigued by this often static and garish production of one of my favourite operas. There were some promising ideas: the banishment of the usual opening bed in favour of a shower stressed the transitional nature of the coition sounded with so much frenzy in the orchestra; the Vienna Secession style sets had some interest until they descended into caricature and distortion; the interpretation and strong characterization of Ochs made me realize for the first time why Strauss and Hofmannstal originally considered naming the opera after him; the Faninal Bling Palast proved a witty setting for the Presentation of the Rose, although the shock factor of this set distracted from anticipated beauty of the music; the depiction of Octavian as a totally unsophisticated and robust toy boy with difference in age of the two 'lovers' highlighted by the difference in physical appearance might have worked had the costumes and sets in the first and last acts been less hostile to the singers and hard on the eyes of the audience. Good singing was occasionally drowned by some over-exuberant orchestral playing, although Octavian, Ochs and Faninal proved generally strong and there were some fine cameo roles. Overall a three star performance where the sheer beauty of the music and singing, and some well-thought out actions and movements were offset by quirky costumes and sets that became claustrophobic in the last act. There was insufficient relief from the tacky dressing of the two principals. Kleider machen Leute, and I do not see the characters of either Octavian or the Marshallin favouring the wardrobe chosen for them. The Marshallin reminded me so much of the Queen of Hearts in the Royal Ballet production of Alice in Wonderland. Octavian's clothes and hair styling could not have been much worse. The clothes looked badly stitched and ill-fitting; the hair was a mess. What statement here? Imagine the stunning figure of Kate Royal in an elegant gown such as would have been worn by a woman of her character and status in the opera; imagine the pretty and lively Tara Erraught with her hair nicely dressed tied back for Octavian and loose for Mariandel, her clothes of a good cut and properly fitting. Perhaps the production contained too many changes and challenges for me to absorb on a magnificent and balmy Glyndebourne evening and I am a sentiment wallower where this opera is concerned. If Manchester were not such a black hole for cinema relays from Glyndebourne (only one showing in the whole of the conurbation), I would willingly see the production again (and again). Meanwhile there may be a lot to be said for the concert version I shall see at the CBSO this weekend!

The roar of the audience said it all as the curtain came down on Wednesday night. Tara Erraught received a tremendous wave of whoopping, stomping and unrestrained adulatory approval . . . and that was just from her fellow singers on stage! That peer group celebration of talent was backed by the admiration of the loyal and discerning Glyndebourne audience present A remarkable evening.

I recently saw a production in Vienna with Renee Fleming as the Marschallin and Peter Rose as Ochs, both superb performances.
The Glyndebourne performance I attended was good but neither of these roles came close to the standard of their colleagues, who, in fairness, are probably the leading exponents of these roles.
I admire Richard Jones, but find him gimmicky and, dare I say it, a bit passee now.
I think Mr Ticciati will also grow into a good, if not great Rosenkavalier conductor.
It is a difficult score, and there are perhaps only two or 3 truly wonderful conductors of this piece (the best probably was Kleiber).

I am taken aback by the lukewarm tenor of comments on Der Rosenkavalier above. I enjoyed it immensely, being at a live performance of this opera for the first time. I found the orchestra fabulous, always adding to the voices and never detracting from them. The singers were fabulous. The Marschallin's dresses were exotic and memorable.Thank you for a wonderful experience.

I and my guests thoroughly enjoyed the first night. Wonderful performances from Lars Woldt and the LPO and great singing by Kate Royal and Tara Erraught. There were some weaknesses in the production, eg the unconvincing stage musicians in Act 2, but overall the production contributed effectively to both the humour and the pathos of the plot.

I am so fed up with critics( mainly male) comments about Tara Erraught's physical appearance. The fact is that she sings beautifully, and her performance has a touching integrity. I did not particularly care for this production, but I left satisfied having had a wonderful Glyndebourne evening of music. Why no tour???.... and I certainly hope that we will see more of Miss Erraught. Another great Irish voice at Glyndbourne.

Pretty good.
Comments on Octavian's body shape from some critics disgraceful: she sang well and was a good foil for D M.

Orchestra generally good and singing first class: a very good ensemble of principles and good support - Italian tenor excellent.

I found the staging fussy and cramped and too much superfluous activity. The costumes were also drab, DM's did not sparkle in the foyer circle, and Octavian's for delivering the rose was downright drab, especially after we had the exciting build up.

However, I look forward to the next evening, for which I have been fortunate enough to secure a ticket.

I had two guests who greatly enjoyed the production, and the Leith's picnics where the content and service was first class.

The opening performance mostly quite good, if the production itself achieved mixed results. The cast and orchestra were excellent, and though true to Jones's style of direction the production was rather different from traditional Rosenkavaliers, it was largely successful. The only way in which it really failed was in its depiction of the Marschallin, whom Jones says he views as a Mrs. Robinson/Desperate Housewives type persona--a view which, I think, rather eviscerates one of the greatest roles in the canon.
Ms. Royal sang well enough mostly to salvage it, and the first act was delightful, but this was the first time I have left the final act without being thoroughly moved by the Marshallin's sacrifice, and it takes some degree of effort to render her unsympathetic. Her ridiculous dress and lack of stature certainly didn't help. A terrible misjudgment, but otherwise a fine performance.

The broadcast is free on our website or on the Telegraph website streaming live on 8 June. You can also buy tickets for cinema viewings on this date - see the cinema tab above.

First time I have seen Rosenkavalier live and delighted with the overall experience. I could wax lyrical over any member of the cast but shall reserve my comments for Ochs. I had thought Otto Edelmann unsurpassable in this role but Lars Woldt both sang and personified the role to absolute perfection. Brought tears to my eyes.
I did hear some adverse comments especially after Act 3. The wallpaper depicted in this production is the most startling since Katya Kabanova at Glyndebourne and the decor in the last act perfectly evokes the gruesome taste of the lower classes a century ago. Yes I can say 'lower classes'in the context of this opera and production.

I suppose the broadcast is not for free..... Where can I buy the "ticket" and at what address the broadcast occur? G.Neri

Given the success of the Meistersinger cinema relay a few years ago, omission of Belfast seems hugely unfortunate here. I'm lucky enough to have tickets for this one at the opera house itself, but am all too aware, from over 30 years' experience, how we here miss out on every touring season. It seems that even the cinema is out of our reach here!

Unfortunately we are not streaming this in the cinemas in Northern Ireland but we shall bear this in mind for next year. The Telegraph will be streaming Der Rosenkavalier however so you can watch it Live online. More details can be found here.

Why isn't this available in Northern Ireland - would love to see it.

There are 13 performances of Rosenkavalier which s about average for a new production. It is probable that the production will be so big with a large cast, touring would not be viable.

I am anxious to purchase one or two tickets for the June 12th performance of Der Rosenkavalier. I regularly try telephoning the Box office for returns, but so far no luck. Fingers crossed!

I bought just one very expensive ticket as an associate member. My five other excellent and mainly much cheaper tickets for Rosenkavalier were bought as hoi polloi. You just have to persist. There will be returns to be had during the season you can rest assured.

My wife and I will be visiting southern England and would be interested in perchasing 2 tickets to the June 8 Glyndebourne 2014 performance of the opera, Der Rosenkavalier, if any tickets have been returned.

Why so few performances of Rosenkavalier, and why not on the Tour? It was obviously going to be in great demand, but the general public did not get a look-in.

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