rare for a university opera program to take on Richard Strauss’ grandiose “Der
Rosenkavalier.” The University of Houston’s Moores Opera Center and Moores School
Symphony Orchestra, however, are up to the task.
With its large cast and complex music, large professional companies traditionally perform this opera. Undaunted by such challenges, Moores Opera Center director Buck Ross is ready to see UH talents bring this production to life.
“It’s a very big production,” he said. “We have several dynamic voices that can pull off this material. We also have a top orchestra that is ready to perform this live. We don’t have the opportunity to perform a show like this very often, so it’s a treat for our audience and a wonderful experience for the musicians involved.”
Ross is directing “Der Rosenkavalier” and Franz Krager, director of UH orchestras, will conduct the orchestra. Master’s candidate David Ward is singing the role of Baron Ochs, while UH voice professor Cynthia Clayton and doctoral candidate Lynda McKnight alternate playing the role of the Marschallin. Rounding out the leading roles are master’s students Mary Brooke Quarles as Count Octavian Rofrano and Ashly Neumann and Julia Engel, who rotate as Sophie von Faninal during different performances.
“Der Rosenkavalier” will be performed at UH’s Moores Opera House. Times and dates are as follows:
- 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 30 and Tuesday, April 3
- 2 p.m., Sunday, April 1
Tickets for are $20, $15 (for UH faculty, staff and alumni) and $10 for students and seniors.
Set in Vienna, “Der Rosenkavalier” follows a romantic rectangle between aristocrat Marschallin, her much younger lover Count Octavian Rofrano, Baron Ochs and his intended bride Sophie. Octavian acts as Ochs’ Rosenkavalier (Knight of the Rose) per Viennese custom and delivers a silver rose to Sophie as a sign of their engagement. At this moment, things go awry as Octavian and Sophie fall in love.
“Strauss was in many ways trying to write a piece that was an homage to ‘The Marriage of Figaro,’” Ross said. “It’s a wonderful piece for both new audiences and longtime opera fans. It contains beautiful music…some wonderful waltzes…and the final trio is considered by some to be the single most beautiful piece in all of opera.”