Stats say the Glyndebourne 2014 Der Rosenkavalier post has been my most popular so far. Well, then! Let’s talk Strauss for a spell.
Faninal’s kitchen: I like it. In fact, I’ve watched Act II of this production more than the other ones, that’s how much I like that damn gaudy kitchen. The rows upon rows of china are so typically bourgeois, they never fail to make me smile. Faninal himself is counting the jars (of blue marmalade, I can only guess). But there’s more to it. I like that the kitchen is blue and the tables are scrubbed and Spartan and the very high window that looks out onto a wintry landscape. Most of all, though, I like that Sophie is making Schnitzel1.
It’s all very natural and cosy and typically Old World, but what does it imply? Why is Sophie entertaining Octavian in the kitchen and not in the main drawing room, as usual? Is she supposed to look like a virtuous bride who knows how to run a household? Probably. Yet this unusual location makes me get the connection between Sophie and Octavian a lot better than when they meet in a formal salon2. There’s a nice balance between the awkwardness and the familiarity of two young people who are forced to meet due to grown-ups’ machinations. It feels like a place where they can take refuge from the complicated world of adults.
- When I was growing up there always seemed to be Schnitzels in the kitchens I was familiar with… ↩
- Not being a formalist myself, I don’t usually enjoy this bit of the opera. In fact, I have entirely skipped watching The Presentation of the Rose on a few occasions. So you can imagine my relief when I saw this production. ↩