Following the critical and public triumph of their recent production of Tristan and Isolde, Melbourne Opera will next stage Richard Strauss’ romantic comedy, Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose), at the Athenaeum Theatre from 9 August 2018.
Not seen in Melbourne for 16 years, the three act comedy illuminates Strauss’ beautifully polished score, with opulent waltzes, scintillating harmonies and complex vocal arrangements, including the instantly recognizable Viennese waltz – a recurring theme throughout the opera. The sumptuous score is interwoven with plenty of disguises, theatrical gender bending and comic intrigue.
This new production will be directed by Tama Matheson in his Melbourne Opera debut. Matheson directed The Love of the Nightingale for Opera Australia, and is the artistic director of the Brisbane Shakespeare Festival. He has also worked with world leading directors from Covent Garden to St. Petersburg. Last year, his production of Amadeus won Brisbane’s prestigious Matilda Award for Best Production.
“Rosenkavalier has some of the most miraculous music ever written for the opera,” said Matheson. “It also has a deep humanity and maturity – the characters are wonderfully realised – and the contrasting depictions of old and young love are utterly dazzling. It works on so many levels: comedy, social commentary, theatrical spectacle, and human drama. Like a Mozart opera (from which it takes its cue), it manages to contain all aspects of human experience.”
Lead by renowned Richard Strauss specialist Dr David Kram, Der Rosenkavalier boasts a superb international cast of singers and musicians. Melbourne Opera is thrilled to have secured international star Daniel Sumegi for the pivotal role of Baron Ochs. Daniel has performed this central role of the bass repertoire extensively internationally, notably with the Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera.
Australian-born and a Melbourne Sun Aria winner, Daniel has more than 100 roles in his repertoire. Since his US debut in 1991, Daniel has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden and the Paris Opera, as well as major opera companies around the world.
In addition to the bass of Baron Ochs, Der Rosenkavalier is, in essence, a powerful showcase for the female voice: the aristocratic Marschallin performed by Lee Abrahmsen; Danielle Calder as her young and dashing lover Count Octavian, and Anna Voshege prospective fiancée, Sophie, the daughter of a rich bourgeois. The three sopranos share several duets as well as a trio at the opera’s emotional climax.
The main cast is rounded out by Australian-German coloratura soprano Anna Voshege who was most recently awarded the esteemed 2017 Richard Strauss Singing Competition in Munich, Germany, along with the Australian Music Events Opera Scholar of the Year and the The Armstead Singing Award. Anna is a regular concert soloist with the Vienna Baroque and Classic Orchestra in Palais Schönborn.
Der Rosenkavalier also features Simon Meadows, Andrea Creighton, John Pickering, Caroline Vercoe, Alison McIntosh-Deszcz, Shakira Dugan and Michael Dimovski.
Sung in English, Der Rosenkavalier is a comic opera that still manages to explore weighty subject matter relevant to the present day, with underlying themes of aging, sexual predation and selfish love, and is Melbourne Opera’s second production in the company’s 2018 season, following their widely acclaimed production of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde in February.
Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne
Season: 9 – 17 August 2018
Information and Bookings: www.melbourneopera.com
Image: Daniel Sumegi (left) as Baron Ochs in the Scottish Opera production of Der Rosenkavalier (supplied)