This Saturday at 7:30, we'll be broadcasting the Minnesota Orchestra's live performance of Der Rosenkavalier. Since its first performance 100 years ago, it's been a smash hit with the public. One reason is that each of its three acts has at least one passage where music, words and drama come together to create a foolproof moment of theater.
Here's one of them: the intimate Act I monologue sung by the Marschallin (a Viennese noblewoman), musing on marriages, aging, and the mysterious ways of the world.
I find this one of the most moving scenes of opera, any opera I know, even more so now that I am getting older. What also intrigues me as a scientist, however, is that she refers to time as "ein Geschöpf des Vaters," as something created by god. Surely a bit of Augustinian philosophy surviving the absolute time of the scholastics and of Newton, used to wonderful effect here. But today it also sounds peculiarly modern.