• Richard Strauss
  • March 2023
  • Dublin

Der Rosenkavalier

A ravishing recreation of Richard Strauss’s nostalgic immersion in 18th-century Vienna, with the greatest-ever trio for female voices.

Love and lust. Culture and crudity. Disguise and deceit. Masters and servants. Opulence to die for. Raging hormones fuel the aristocratic intrigues in Richard Strauss’s indulgently Viennese celebration of the extravagant lifestyle of a bygone age. The orchestra is sumptuous. The sopranos soar with heart-stopping beauty. Operatic nostalgia doesn’t come any finer than this.

Sung in German with English surtitles.

Running time: 3 hours and 25 minutes plus two intervals after Acts I and II.

Der Rosenkavalier...In Focus, a free online introduction with speaker Dr Michael Lee to the opera takes place on 2 March at 7pm. Booking available now.

Join the conversation #INORosenkavalier

This production is made possible by a generous contribution from a private donor.

“Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier is a gilded fantasy of Vienna — all waltzes and silver filigree — cross-pollinated with the antics of comic opera...” - The New Yorker
“the highlight of the evening...” - Irish Examiner on Celine Byrne
“simply electrifying...” - GoldenPlec on Paula Murrihy
“an astonishing, mesmerising performance...” - Gramophone magazine on Claudia Boyle

A co-production with Garsington Opera and Santa Fe Opera


Cast and Creative Team


Octavian Paula Murrihy
Marschallin Celine Byrne
Sophie Claudia Boyle
Baron Ochs Andreas Bauer Kanabas
Faninal Samuel Dale Johnson
Marianne Rachel Croash
Valzacchi Peter Van Hulle
Annina Carolyn Holt
Italian Tenor César Cortés
Police Commissar David Howes
Marschallin’s Major Domo Michael Bell
Leopold Vladyslav Volk
Lackey 1 Richard Shaffrey
Lackey 2 David Mulhall
Lackey 3 Ciarán Crangle
Lackey 4 Lewis Dillon
Noble Orphan 1 Jade Phoenix
Noble Orphan 2 Madeline Judge
Noble Orphan 3 Leanne Fitzgerald
Milliner Niamh St John
Pet Vendor / Lerchenau’s Servant 1 / Waiter 1 Fearghal Curtis
Notary Mark Nathan
Faninal’s Major Domo William Pearson
Lerchenau’s Servant 2 David Scott
Lerchenau’s Servant 3 / Boots Kevin Neville
Landlord Andrew Masterson
Waiter 2 Ben Escorcio
Waiter 3 Rory Dunne
Waiter 4 Matthew Mannion

Creative Team

Conductor Fergus Sheil
Director Bruno Ravella
Set & Costume Designer Gary McCann
Lighting Designer Malcolm Rippeth
Chorus Director Elaine Kelly
Assistant Directors Chris Kelly, Katie O’Halloran
Répétiteurs Aoife O’Sullivan, Richard McGrath
Language Coach Anna Weiss
Irish National Opera Chorus
Irish National Opera Orchestra




The Marschallin has spent the night with her young lover, Octavian, whom she calls by his pet-name, Quinquin. Hearing voices, they fear that her husband, the Feldmarschall, has returned unexpectedly. Octavian disguises himself as a maidservant but the intruder is the Marschallin’s cousin, Baron Ochs of Lerchenau. The Baron brings news of his forthcoming marriage to Sophie, the daughter of Herr von Faninal, a recently ennobled merchant. He is much taken with Octavian who, unable to escape, is introduced by the Marschallin as Mariandel, her new chambermaid. Ochs has come to request his cousin’s help in finding someone suitable to make the traditional presentation of a silver rose to his fiancée. The Marschallin objects to the attentions he is paying to her chambermaid but Ochs is unabashed: such actions are a nobleman’s prerogative. He speculates that Mariandel is so pretty she must have blue blood in her veins and boasts of having his own illegitimate offspring in his service, his manservant Leopold. The Marschallin suggests Count Octavian Rofrano as a possible rose-bearer and produces a portrait of him. Ochs is intrigued by the resemblance to Mariandel. The Marschallin holds her morning levée. The Baron consults her lawyer but loses his temper when told that, as bridegroom, he cannot stipulate the terms of the marriage settlement. He is approached by the mysterious Italians, Valzacchi and Annina, who offer to watch over his fiancée to ensure her fidelity. When everyone has gone, the Marschallin remembers herself as a young girl, forced into a loveless marriage. When Octavian returns she warns him that one day he will leave her for someone younger. He rejects the very idea. They discuss meeting later and part coolly. The Marschallin realises that she did not even kiss him goodbye and sends her servant after him with the silver rose.



Faninal’s household is in a state of high excitement at the imminent arrival of the rose-bearer. Octavian enters with the silver rose and presents it to Sophie. Following the formalities, they talk, but are interrupted by the arrival of the groom, Baron Ochs. Sophie is appalled by his condescension towards her family and by his boorish behaviour. Speculating on the delights of the wedding night ahead, Ochs congratulates himself on the “luck of the Lerchenaus” and goes off to discuss the marriage contract with Faninal. Sophie admits to Octavian that she would do anything to avoid the marriage. He promises to help her. They are overheard by Valzacchi and Annina who summon Ochs. He at first laughs off the incident but becomes increasingly furious when Octavian insists that the wedding must be called off. In the ensuing struggle, Ochs is wounded. Faninal orders Octavian to leave but as he goes he enlists the Italians to work for him instead of Ochs. Recovering his temper upon realising that his wound is not life-threatening, Ochs is further cheered by the arrival of Annina with a message from “Mariandel”, suggesting a rendezvous at an inn.



Valzacchi and his accomplices arrange various surprises for Baron Ochs, under the instruction of Octavian, who is again disguised as Mariandel. Ochs arrives but his attempts at seduction are thwarted by strange interruptions. He rings the bell in terror, only to be confronted by Annina, claiming to be his deserted wife and producing children whom she insists are his. A police commissar arrives and demands that the Baron explain what he is doing with a young girl in his room. When Ochs attempts to extricate himself by explaining that the girl is his fiancée, Faninal appears and is scandalised by the suggestion that Mariandel is his daughter. He sends for Sophie, who is waiting outside, before collapsing from shock. The chaos mounts until the Marschallin enters, summoned by Leopold on his master’s behalf. Appraising the situation, she quickly takes control. Recognising the commissar as her husband’s former army orderly, she convinces him that this has all been a joke. Ochs persists in trying to insist on his marriage to Sophie but the Marschallin reveals Octavian/ Mariandel’s true identity and he is persuaded to leave, pursued by the landlord, waiters and musicians, demanding payment. Sensing Octavian’s dilemma, the Marschallin tells him to go to Sophie. Seeing them together, so clearly in love, she reflects that what she prophesied has come to pass, sooner than she had foreseen. The Marschallin withdraws, leaving the two young lovers alone.

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Der Rosenkavalier Programme