Sonnet for Strauss


The Trouser Role


The curtain rose, revealed the obscene scene

Of lovers ungauged by passions enraged.

A head goes down in haste to taste the Queen.

The women sing. Sweet harmonies cascade,

Into lustful grating cadence of sound

Until silenced by a lingering kiss.

The strings take up the tension, and astound

The voyeurs gaping at the lovers’ bliss.

The words they sing, hidden in music’s flow,

Fly past us, like a morality lost.

In this moment, only the lovers know

The reason behind this lesbian cost.

Now we see the trousers are on a boy!

His cousin’s matronly mounds, were his joy.


Image – Opera North’s production of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier (2016). Ylva Kihlberg as The Marschallin (left) and Helen Sherman as Octavian

Photo Credit: Robert Workman and Opera North