I recently saw this opera at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Whilst the production was lavish and visually stunning, the music was not at all as good as I had been led to believe it was. I personally am no fan of Wagner – not as a person nor as a composer – and this is nothing new. I was reading several biographies about him and found that there were many volatile disagreements between members of the music community in his day because his proponents seemed to believe that his music was greater than that of the Romantics. I disagree heartily. Especially knowing that he thought Romantic composers like Meyerbeer and Mendelssohn were beneath him because they were Jewish and were more popular (and therefore, more financially successful) than he. The only song by Wagner I can say I love is the Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde.
Getting back to Der Rosenkavalier, I found it odd that Strauss wrote the main male character for a female mezzo-soprano voice. Why could he not have used a countertenor? That was one thing that distracted me. The other was that there was no discernable melody except for one bit near the end. Also, I found it a rather tedious kind of opera, though the singers were very talented. I just believe that opera should be about the use of beautiful melodies incorporated into a compelling story.
I am biased, though I have tried to understand Strauss and Wagner, I simply find it to be the “modern art” of the opera world. And I don’t like it.