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A Mythic Heroine in Der Rosenkavalier

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This paper explores the Allomatische—Strauss and Hofmannsthal's concept of transformation by means of taking risk—through its application to Der Rosenkavalier's Marie-Therese (the Marschallin). The Allomatische’s very apparent presence throughout Strauss and Hofmannsthal’s collaborations in their “mythic” operas, urges its examination in Der Rosenkavlier. This paper explores the Marschallin's risk in context of gender, arguing that her self-acceptance as an ageing woman is an exceedingly brave act, that in-turn transforms her. In this paper, a character study of the Marschallin in Act I before the transformation, and after in Act III is presented and corroborated by interspersed musical examples. A comparison with other characters, both male and female, further establishes the gendered context of the Marschallin's risk. In conclusion, the Marschallin's brave risk of self-acceptance as an aging woman transforms her, and places her in the pantheon of Strauss and Hofmannsthal's mythic heroines.


opera, gender, Der Rosenkavalier, the Marschallin, Richard Strauss

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