Filmconcert „Der Rosenkavalier“ //
Silent film with live musical accompaniment
Director: Robert Wiene (Austria, 1926) · Music by Richard Strauss
Under the reign of Maria Theresia, Austria’s nobility are entwined in an emotional game of confusion. In preparation for his marriage to Sophie, Baron Ochs von Lerchenau wishes to find a nobleman who will give a silver rose to his bride according to ancient tradition. He asks his cousin and wife of the field marshal Lady Werdenberg for advice, who recommends her lover Count Octavian. But the moment Octavian gazes at Sophie, both fall head over heels in love, which inevitably sets a bonfire of emotions alight as Octavian tries to prevent Sophie’s betrothal to the Baron with every means possible.
The cinematic version of the »Rosenkavalier« from 1925 is the most spectacular and – unsurprisingly – the most musically sophisticated piece of operatic cinema of the silent film era. The film producers were able to enlist the experienced director Robert Wiene as well as several of the best-known actors of that era. Wiene developed the script and directed the film in collaboration with Hugo von Hofmannsthal, who wrote the libretto of the stage version. As for Richard Strauss, he not only allowed Wiene to use his original opera music for the film, but personally assisted with adapting the opera for cinematic use.
Because the composition was the basis for the film project, the film strictly adheres to the opera’s musical sequence. Though the cinematic version of the „Rosenkavalier" offers specific nuances of its own, it essentially follows the narrative of the opera and preserves its humour and ironic »punch lines«. The completely homogenous teamwork was enhanced further by the film set designer Alfred Roller, who had also designed the set for the world premiere of the opera in Dresden 15 years earlier. Frank Strobel conducted the new production of the restored film classic at the Semperoper in 2006 – an event the newspaper DIE WELT hailed as an »unexpected sensation«.
Film with the consent of Filmarchiv Austria,
Musik with the consent of Schott Music GmbH & Co. KG.
Frank Strobel (Dirigent)