Monday, January 31, 2011

Strauss Reviewing the Legal Details: One Hundred Years of Der Rosenkavalier

Der Rosenkavalier (Op. 59) (The Knight of the Rose) is a comic opera in three acts by Richard Strauss to an original German libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. It is loosely adapted from the novel Les amours du chevalier de Faublas by Louvet de Couvrai and Moli√®re’s comedy Monsieur de Pourceaugnac. It was first performed at the K√∂nigliches Opernhaus in Dresden on 26 January 1911 under the direction of Max Reinhardt.

In Act 1 the room fills with supplicants to the Princess Marie Therese von Werdenberg. An Italian tenor sent by the Portuguese Ambassador serenades the Princess ("Di rigori armato"), while Baron Ochs works out the marriage contract with the Princess's lawyer. Rudely interrupting the tenor's song, Ochs tells the lawyer to demand a dower from Sophie's family; to no avail, the lawyer attempts to explain that such is impossible under the law (Ochs confuses dower with dowry).


Gary Freedman said...

Max Reinhardt's grandson, Stephen Reinhardt, is a labor lawyer who has served notably on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit since his appointment by Jimmy Carter in 1980.

Gary Freedman said...

I am reminded of the quote from Schiller:

"The world loves to blacken the radiant and drag the sublime into the dust."

The fate of artists -- singers, writers, or whatever -- among lawyers!

Gary Freedman said...

Reinhardt served as a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, California Advisory Committee from 1962 to 1974 and was its vice chairman from 1969 to 1974. He also served as member of the Democratic National Committee and as an unpaid advisor to former Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley and former California governor Jerry Brown. In 1975 he was appointed to the Los Angeles Police Commission, which he chaired from 1978 until his judicial confirmation in 1980.

I wonder what Judge Reinhardt thinks of Strauss?