In Opera, Clocks Take the Spotlight

Time often plays a role in operatic plots, but this year several productions have timepieces onstage.

“At times I get up in the middle of the night and stop all the clocks. All of them,” an aging princess sings in “Der Rosenkavalier,” Richard Strauss’s sprawling opera of love, devotion and loss. And time is fleeting, the character explains to her young lover: It “courses between you and me — silent, as in an hourglass.”

Time often plays a role in operatic plots, from the evil machinations in “Rigoletto” timed to the midnight toll of a village clock to the so-called “clock scene” in “Boris Godunov,” when the title character has visions

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