Composer: Richard Strauss
Performer: Dutch National Opera
Orchestra: Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Marc Albrecht
Number of Discs: 1 SACD-R
Bit Depth: 64(2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 5.0, 2.0
Label: Challenge Records
Size: 7.96 GB
Dutch National Opera, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Marc Albrecht
Richard Strauss: Arabella
Disc 1 (01:02:46)
01. Die Karten fallen besser als das letzte Mal
02. Sie wollen alle Geld!
04. Ich danke, Fräulein
05. Er ist der Richtige nicht für mich!
06. Aber der Richtige, wenn’s einen gibt für mich
07. Das ist der Schlitten vom Elemer
08. Was hast du denn?
09. Lasst uns allein, meine Kinder
10. Mandryka! Der reiche Kerl!
11. Herr Graf, Sie haben Ihrem werten Brief
12. Mein sind die Wälder
13. Das ist ein Fall von andrer Art
14. Mein Elemer!
Disc 2 (00:49:26)
01. Das ist ein Engel
02. Sie seh’n nicht aus wie jemand
03. Ich habe eine Frau gehabt
04. Sie woll’n mich heiraten, sagt mein Vater
05. Und du wirst mein Gebieter sein
06. Die Wiener Herrn versteh’n sich
08. Und jetzt sag’ ich adieu
09. O Arabella, gibt es was Schöneres
10. Ein Feigling bin ich
11. Und wenn hier viele Arabella heissen
12. Ging durch einen Wald
Disc 3 (00:52:11)
02. Über seine Felder wird der Wagen fahren
03. Sie hier? So muss ich fragen, Arabella!
04. Welch ein erregtes Tête-à-tête
05. Papa, so schau mir ins Gesicht!
06. Ich gratuliere Ihnen, Herr Leutnant
07. Papa, Mama!
08. Sehr gut. Jetzt habe ich mein richt’ges Vis-à-vis
09. Zdenkerl, du bist die Bess’re
11. Brautwerbung kommt!
12. Sie gibt mir keinen Blick
13. Das war sehr gut, Mandryka
14. Und so sind wir verlobte
The Dutch National Opera presents this luxurious edition of ‘Arabella’, the last collaboration between Strauss & von Hoffmanstahl, across 3 Hybrid SACDs, which includes a 200 page booklet. It features a super cast of singers. The Dutch National Opera is the largest opera company in the Netherlands & is housed in Dutch National Opera & Ballet, in Amsterdam. Under the leadership of artistic director Pierre Audi & the managing director of Dutch National Opera & Ballet, Els van der Plas, DNO has grown into 1 of the most important & pioneering opera companies in Europe.
Arabella is an opera about change, a light comedy with a bittersweet edge. Richard Strauss asked his librettist and long-term collaborator Hugo von Hofmannsthal for a ‘second Rosenkavalier. In many ways he got just that, though Arabella is resolutely more down to earth than its rococo predecessor. The Waldner family has hit hard times and marrying off their daughters has therefore become their sole aim. While Arabella readily embraces her future, her story nonetheless touches on fundamental concerns about the irrevocable passage of time and humankind’s shared vulnerability. Those issues eerily played out in the opera’s gestation and performance history. Not only would it become Strauss and Hofmannsthal’s final collaboration due to
the latter’s untimely death, but the opera would also see the light of day in a significantly darker world than the one in which it was conceived. Alone, Strauss honoured his late friend by completing Arabella, whose blithe optimism first came to the stage in 1933, at the beginning of another dark era in history.
Count Waldner, a retired cavalry officer, has fallen on hard times. He and his wife Adelaide and their two daughters are staying in a hotel in Vienna, where, Waldner hopes, his attractive elder daughter Arabella can be fixed up with a wealthy husband and thus save the family from financial ruin. They pass off the younger daughter Zdenka as a boy (‘Zdenko’), as it would be too costly to properly outfit two young women of their standing. Zdenka now leads a ‘gender-neutral’ existence.
Meanwhile, three Viennese noblemen are vying for Arabella’s hand. But she strings them along, even as her family’s financial woes pile up. Her father loses his money at cards and her mother secretly pawns her jewelry in order to pay unscrupulous fortune-tellers to predict a bright future.
Time passes, Carnival is nearly over and the management of the Waldner’s hotel threatens them with eviction unless they settle their accounts. Arabella has given herself until midnight to choose between her three suitors.
Act I − In the Waldners’ rented, but unpaid-for, hotel suite.
Countess Adelaide consults a fortune-teller, who predicts that Arabella will soon marry a mysterious foreigner, but the road will not be free of obstacles.
Zdenka hopes instead that Arabella will marry the young officer Matteo. But Arabella has given him the cold shoulder since making the acquaintance of the three counts. In desperation Matteo takes Arabella’s younger ‘brother’ into his confidence and threatens, in keeping with Viennese fashion, to commit suicide. Zdenka is secretly in love with him, and to prevent him for carrying out his threat, she writes him a daily love letter supposedly signed by Arabella. Matteo believes Arabella loves him, but is thrown off by her cool manner whenever they happen to meet. Every day he brings roses to her suite.
For Arabella, Matteo was no more than a fling. She takes, as usual, little notice of his roses upon returning from her stroll along the Ring. But an unexpected encounter does catch her fancy: a dark and handsome stranger eyed her as she entered the hotel. Now there’s someone she’d like to receive flowers from! Zdenka tries in vain to put in a good word for her ‘best friend’ Matteo with her sister.
One of the three counts, Elemer, arrives. He considers himself a shoe-in for Arabella’s affections and invites her for a sleigh ride. Arabella accepts under the condition that ‘Zdenko’ join them. Looking out of her window, she catches another glimpse of the mysterious newcomer.
The stranger is Mandryka, the nephew of a comrade of Count Waldner from his cavalry days. Waldner had written to his old and extremely wealthy friend with an account of his dire straits, and included a photograph of his daughter Arabella. The old man has since died, but his heir, the young Mandryka, is at once smitten with her upon seeing the portrait. He has left his country estate and come to Vienna.
Waldner is surprised not to see his old friend but the man’s nephew. The ensuing events appear to Waldner as a dream: Mandryka asks then and there for Arabella’s hand, before he has even laid eyes on her. On top of it he dangles a well-filled purse in front of his prospective father-in-law. They decide to meet later that evening at the Coachmen’s Ball.
‘Zdenko’ urges Matteo to go to the ball as well, where he is to receive another love letter from Arabella. Meanwhile Arabella is fraught with anxiety over having to choose a husband this very night. She tries to banish her apprehension with even more foreboding thoughts: ‘A ride down the Hauptallee – until it takes my breath away…’
Act II − The same evening. At the Coachmen’s Ball. In a small alcove off the ballroom.
Arabella is introduced to Mandryka. The young and aristocratic urbanite and the not-so-mondaine country landowner are instantly attracted to one another. She is prepared to leave Vienna and follow him. She has but one request: ‘I’d like to dance and take my leave of my girlhood, only for an hour.’ Mandryka chats with her parents while Arabella bids the three counts farewell.
Then Mandryka sees Zdenko hand Matteo a key and an invitation to visit Arabella in her suite that night. In reality it is Zdenka who will receive Matteo in the hotel room. But Mandryka is mad with jealousy and raises a commotion, cursing Arabella in front of the other guests. Count Waldner insists they return to the hotel at once.
Act III – In the hotel.
Matteo has made love to Zdenka in the dark, believing in the throes of his passion that it is Arabella. When, in the hotel lobby shortly thereafter, he bumps into the real Arabella, who has just returned from the ball, he is flabbergasted – all the more so because of her frosty manners. They quarrel. Just then her parents, Mandryka and the three counts show up.
Mandryka is convinced of his low opinion of her, and believes her infidelity is confirmed. Arabella in turn is hurt by his accusation; the atmosphere is one of indignation and misery. The code of honour requires Matteo and Mandryka to resolve the conflict in a duel.
But then Zdenka enters, no longer in disguise, and confesses that it was she who seduced Matteo. Arabella is moved by her sister’s overwhelming love.
Trying to unravel his feelings for Arabella and for his ‘best friend’, Matteo struggles to come to grips with the events of the previous night. Mandryka does his best to bring Matteo and Zdenka together in the hope that Arabella will then forgive him.
Arabella puts off all further talk until the next day, which Mandryka takes as a sign he has lost her forever. But after a moment of reflection, Arabella returns and cements their engagement by handing him a glass of water – a traditional symbol in his country – with the words: ‘in grief and joy, in injury and forgiveness!’