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The dream cast of Renée Fleming as the Marschallin and Elīna Garanča as Octavian star in Strauss's grandest opera. In his new production, Robert Carsen, the director behind the Met's recent Falstaff, places the action at the end of the Habsburg Empire, underscoring the opera's subtext of class and conflict against a rich backdrop of gilt and red damask, in a staging that also stars Günther Groissböck as Baron Ochs. Sebastian Weigle conducts the sparklingly perfect score.

Concerning the older and alluring Marschallian, a grand princess who finds solace in the arms of her much younger lover Octavian until the entrance of her hot-blooded and churlish cousin Baron Ochs. Setting his sights on wealthy and beautiful merchant's daughter Sophie, he enlists the help of Octavian as his rose bearer. Of course, once they set eyes on each other, all is lost for both Marshchallian and Baron Ochs. The former accepts her fate elegantly, the latter, well, not so much…

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