"Time is a strange thing. As our lives go by , it means absolutely nothing. And then, one fine day, we are aware of nothing else. It is all around us. It trickles over our faces, it trickles over the mirror, it streams between my temples."
- Der Rosenkavalier, Act I
“The Marschallin, Ochs, Octavian, wealthy Faninal and his daughter… it is as if the vital links forged between these characters have existed for a very long time. Today, they no longer belong to me, nor to the composer. They belong to the bizarrely lit, ever-shifting world of the theatre where they have survived for a certain time and may well continue to do so for some time to come.” Herbert Wernicke's vision appropriates and builds on this evocation of Der Rosenkavalier by its librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
One of the major stage directors of the last quarter of the 20th century, who died before his time, Wernicke took pains over even the most minute elements of his productions. Born out of a theatrical reflection with an uncompromising approach to tradition, his breath-taking sets are first and foremost an extraordinary theatrical machine where illusion lends itself to illusion in an infinite game of mirrors in a twilight Vienna of deceptive rococo reflections: each character donning a mask, whether out of self-importance, naivety or coquetry. Would the Marschallin still gaze into the mirror if the only thing she saw were the marks of passing time? After an eleven-year absence, Anja Harteros returns to the Paris Opera in one of the finest roles in the repertoire, under the baton of conductor Philippe Jordan.