STRAUSS: Arabella – Dresden 2005

Music composed by Richard Strauss. Libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal.

First Performance: 1 July 1933, S‰chsisches
Staatstheater Opernhaus, Dresden

Principal Roles:
Count Waldner Bass
Adelaide, his wife Mezzo Soprano
Arabella, their daughter Soprano
Zdenka, Arabella’s younger sister Soprano
Mandryka, a Croatian landowner Baritone
Matteo, an officer Tenor
Count Elemer Tenor
Count Dominik Baritone
Count Lamoral Bass
Fiakermilli Soprano
Fortune-Teller Soprano
Three Players Basses
Welko, Mandryka’s bodyguard Spoken Role


The impoverished Count and Countess Waldner seek a rich suitor for their
eldest daughter Arabella, and have disguised their younger daughter Zdenka as
a boy to save money. Zdenka is in love with Matteo, one of Arabella’s
admirers, and has written him letters in her sister’s name. Arabella
believes she will recognise ‘the right man’, and is curious about a
stranger who has watched her outside the hotel. She agrees to choose a
husband by the end of the Coachmen’s Ball that evening, and leaves for a
sleigh-ride. Beset by creditors, the Count has written to a Croatian
landowning friend, enclosing a photo of Arabella. The friend’s nephew and
heir, Mandryka, announces himself. He is bewitched by Arabella’s portrait
and has come to Vienna to woo her. The Count accepts Mandryka’s suit and a
loan for the gambling tables. At the ball, Arabella and Mandryka are
attracted to each other – he is the stranger she had noticed. He describes
a village custom in which a glass of water is offered by a maid to her
betrothed to drink. She agrees to marry him, but begs a few hours to bid
farewell to her youth. Arabella is proclaimed Queen of the Ball by Milli, the
coachmen’s darling, and takes leave from each of her former suitors. Zdenka
arranges an assignation with Matteo, luring him with a key to Arabella’s
room. This is overheard by Mandryka, who notes Arabella’s departure and
falls into a drunken fury, outraging the Countess with accusations of
Arabella’s infidelity. The Waldners leave the ball and the Count commands
Mandryka to follow. Back at the hotel, Matteo believes he has met with
Arabella in her darkened bedroom, but in the foyer she is baffled by his
allusions. Mandryka has lost his trust in Arabella, and in the growing
confusion challenges Matteo to a fight. Zdenka appears in a nightdress and
confesses her love for Matteo. Arabella seeks forgiveness from Mandryka and
asks her father to bless the union of Zdenka and Matteo. Mandryka, alone,
contemplates his feelings for Arabella and sends a glass of water to her
room. She brings it down for him to drink, as a symbol of their love.

[Synopsis Source: Boosey
& Hawkes

here for the complete libretto

image_description=Angela Denoke as Arabella (Photo by Matthias Creutziger)
first_audio_name=Richard Strauss: Arabella
product_title=Richard Strauss: Arabella
product_by=Waldner (Alfred Kuhn), Adelaide (Christa Mayer), Arabella (Angela Denoke), Zdenka (Birgit Fandrey), Mandryka (Hans-Joachim Ketelsen), Matteo (Klaus Florian Vogt), Elemer (Martin Homrich), Dominik (J¸rgen Hartfiel), Lamoral (Matthias Henneberg), Fortune-Teller (Andrea Ihle), Semperoper Dresden, Wolfgang Rennert (cond.)
Live performance: 24 June 2005, Semperoper, Dresden
product_id=Above: Angela Denoke as Arabella (Photo by Matthias Creutziger)