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The Marschallin

by Rachel Browning

Even dressed as a man, Elena was radiant. Kate dabbed her eyes with her one remaining tissue. As the music from the final act of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier swelled to its rousing pinnacle, Elena’s voice soared through the opera house, merging and blending with those of the other singers. Together they joined the interweaving melodies and chromatic harmonies of the orchestra, the entire ensemble climbing to such unsustainable heights that, to Kate, their ultimate convergence personified longing. The crowd rose and erupted into cheers seconds after the orchestra released its last chord, but Kate remained seated, thunderstruck. Finally, she stood when Elena strolled to the front of the stage to take her last bow amid the roar of applause, while flowers and programs stripped to confetti rained over the cast.