Approximate Running Time: 4 hours and 20 minutes, with 2 intermissions
In German with English captions
What's Going On?
The Marschallin is in love with Octavian, a much younger man. She knows,
despite all his protestations of love,that Octavian will some day leave her for a younger woman.
The Marschallin’s cousin Baron Ochs von Lerchenau comes from the country
to pay a visit. He wants to marry Sophie von Faninal, the daughter of a wealthy
bourgeois. But even as Ochs is preparing to woo Sophie for her dowry, he is also
chasing Mariandel, a chamber maid that Ochs spies in the Marschallin’s boudoir.
However, Mariandel is really Octavian in disguise—the young man dressed up as a
maid to avoid being caught by Ochs in the Marschallin’s bedroom, which would
cause a scandal.
When Ochs asks the Marschallin which cavalier could present Sophie with the
silver engagement rose, she suggests the handsome Octavian.
When Octavian presents the silver rose to Sophie, the pair are instantly smitten
with each other. Neither can bear that Sophie will be wed to the crude Baron Ochs.
Octavian challenges the Baron to a duel, but Sophie’s father, Herr von Faninal, breaks
up the fight and denounces Octavian, banishing him from the house and threatening
Sophie with confinement in a nunnery if she doesn’t marry Ochs.
The quick-witted Octavian comes up with a plan to break Sophie’s engagement and
enlists the aid of two spies, Valzacchi and Annina. A letter from Mariandel is sent
to Ochs, summoning the amorous Baron to a tête-à-tête at an inn outside of town.
At the inn, Ochs arrives for a private supper, but Octavian’s co-conspirators quickly
turn the flirtation into a farce. Annina arrives, with members of the hotel staff and
policemen in tow, to denounce Ochs as her errant husband. The befuddled Ochs claims
Mariandel as his legitimate fiancée, only to be overheard by Sophie and her father
(also summoned to the inn to watch Ochs’ downfall). Octavian slips out of his Mariandel
disguise and reappears as a gentleman. By now, everyone is shouting at everyone.
The Marschallin, summoned by one of Ochs’ servants, sweeps in and has the baron
renounce Sophie. She convinces all involved that the evening has been only a harmless
Viennese masquerade. The Marschallin then reassures the abashed Octavian that his new
love has her blessing and presents him formally to Sophie.
Sophie and Octavian proclaim their love for each other. Herr von Faninal, resigned
to his daughter’s new engagement, tells the Marschallin that young people just do fall
in love quickly and she quietly agrees. The older adults depart and leave Octavian and
Sophie alone together.