By the Numbers: 'Der Rosenkavalier'
The magnitude of opera shows up in the San Diego Opera
production of ‘Der Rosenkavalier.’
San Diego Opera’s second production of its four-opera season opens this weekend, “Der Rosenkavalier” by German composer Richard Strauss.
First performed 100 years ago, the opera is set in the opulent 18th century Austrian Empire. It tells the story of a love triangle between an aging Austrian noblewoman whose husband has neglected her, the Marschallin; her teenage lover, Octavian; and the young woman who captures Octavian’s heart, Sophie.
Beyond the run time of the opera (about four hours) and the troublesome math of a love triangle, it’s a hefty production. Here are some numbers that indicate the magnitude of opera:
• 24 people in the wardrobe crew, from laundry to stitching, plus 18 more in the opera’s costume shop
• 2 dogs
• 93 members of the orchestra, a larger than usual number of musicians, including 2 harps and as many string players (37) as could fit between the pit in the 22-member “banda” that plays backstage
• Less than 2 days between taking down the massive sets for this opera and loading in the sets for the opera’s next production, “Faust”.
• More than 500 lights that use about 350,000 watts (enough to power 5,800 60-watt reading lamps or 290 1,200-watt hair dryers
• 83 wigs, many of which are white and made of yak hair — which is apparently very soft and a good quality
Our last By the Numbers post focused on “Turandot,” the opera company’s season opener. That production actually involved more people — 365 — than the approximately 250 in “Rosenkavalier.”
I’ll be talking about the magnitude of opera on NBC San Diego just after 4:30 p.m. today. We’ll share a clip when it’s available.