Saturday at 12:00 pm
Richard Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal struck gold when they put their musical and poetic heads together. The most famous, and most lucrative of their collaborative efforts was Der Rosenkavalier, which exploded into the opera world in 1911. Over a 19-year period, Strauss went back to von Hofmannsthal for libretti again and again. Arabella opened in 1933; alas the librettist died before he could complete revisions for Arabella‘s second and third acts, bringing their 6-opera winning streak to a close. The Metropolitan Opera first staged Arabella in 1955.
On Saturday the Met presents Swedish soprano Malin Byström in the title role opposite German baritone Michael Volle as Mandryka. Juliane Banse plays Arabella’s younger sister Zdenka, who’s raised as a boy in order to save expenses (apparently dresses and frills are cost-prohibitive). A fourth character, Matteo, sung by tenor Roberto Saccà, inspires rivalry between the sisters before things are put right and Mandryka gets his girl.
View Act I score: ArabellaI
View Act II score: ArabellaII
View Act III score: ArabellaIII
Arabella shows us once again: Strauss was a master of vocal writing. Listen to this duet sung by Thomas Hampson and Renée Fleming.