The Knight of the Rose (Le chevalier à la Rose) is a three-act comic opera by Richard Strauss to Hugo Von Hofmannsthal, the original German libretto, and Harry Von Kessler. The opera was first performed at the Königliches Opernhaus in Dresden, Germany on January 26, 1911 under the direction of Monsieur de Pourceaugnac. Initially, the title of the Knight of the Rose was Ochs Von Lerchenau. Le Chevalier à la Rose was an immediate hit and it is reported that at the time of its debut, tickets were completely sold out. Today, Le Chevalier à la Rose remains a part of the standard opera repertory.
Act 1 The Marschallin's Bedroom
The Marschallinand Count Octavian Rofrano, her younger lover, exchanges vows of love in the absence of her husband. Baron Ochs, Marschallin's boorish cousin arrives to reveal his engagement to Sophie von Fanninal. Och desperately needs a knight to deliver a traditional silver rose to Sophie. However, for a moment, Mariandel (Octavian disguised as a chambermaid), intrigues Ochs.
The valet and the maids waltz in and out of the room, which gets filled with supplicants. Also, a morning serenade performed by an Italian singer gets interrupted by the arrival of Baron Ochs. After the agitation, the Marschallian finds herself all by herself. She doesn't think much of her egotistical cousin. At the thought of her early marriage, she starts to muse and contemplates her youthfulness and the unavoidable passage of time.
Act 2: The Von Fanninal's Home
The Marschallian comes to realize that Octavian will one day leave her for someone younger. However, despite that, she sticks with her choice to have Octavian present the silver rose to the bride-to-be. Sophie on the other hand forgets all about her pending marriage when she sees Octavian. As soon as she sets her eyes on him, it's love at first sight.
When Baron Ochs arrives at the Fanninal household, he treats Sophie rudely. How can she marry this arrogant man, especially when she has fallen for someone else? However, Ochs surprises the two (Sophie and Octavian) during a soft conversation. Octavian loses his cool and challenges Ochs to a duel in which the Baron gets slightly wounded in the fracas and cries out bloody murder. A doctor is called, but the Baron's spirit is lifted by only a glass of wine. Ochs receives Mariandel's letter asking him for a meeting, but it all turns out to be a trap set by Octavian.
Act 3: Private Room in an Inn
Ochs attempts to seduce Mariandel but he's caught when Sophie and her father in the act, Octavian is responsible. Ochs leaves the room embarrassed and in the meantime, the Marschallin, who arrives to sort out the situation, discovers that Octavian is in love with Sophie. A sublime trio follows.
THE MAIN ROLES
Die Feldmarschallin Fürstin Werdenberg, Marshallin (Soprano)
Der Baron Ochs auf Lerchenau, Baron (Basso)
Octavian, Marschallin’s young lover (Mezzo)
Herr von Faninal, rich merchant who has just acquired a noble title (Baritone)
Sophie, his daughter (Soprano)
Valzacchi, Conspirator (Tenor)
Annina, his accomplice (Contralto)
A singer (Tenor) A notary (Basso)
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