The opera has four main characters: the aristocratic Marschallin, her very young lover Count Octavian Rofrano, her coarse cousin Baron Ochs, and Ochs' prospective fiancée Sophie von Faninal, daughter of a rich bourgeois. At the Marschallin's suggestion, Ochs has Octavian act as his Rosenkavalier, and present the ceremonial silver rose to Sophie. But when Octavian meets Sophie, they fall in love on sight. By a comic intrigue, they get rid of Ochs with the help of the Marschallin, who then yields Octavian to the younger woman. But while a comic opera, Der Rosenkavalier also operates at a deeper level. Conscious of the difference in age between herself and Octavian, the Marschallin muses in bittersweet fashion over the passing of time, growing old, and men's inconstancy.
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