These two disks present a 1982 performance of the Metropolitan Opera's beloved production of Der Rosenkavalier. The staging, directed by Nathaniel Merrill and designed by Robert O'Hearn, is lavishly elegant. James Levine leads a cast that could hardly be bettered. As fanfare's reviewer has written, "No one has ever looked and acted more the Marschallin than Kiri Te Kanawa." Other stars include Tatiana Troyanos as Octavian, Judith Blegen as Sophie, Kurt Moll as Baron Ochs, and Luciano Pavarotti as the Italian tenor.
This unabbreviated version of The Rosenkavalier from Salzburg Festival 2014 became a triumph and received fantastic reviews. Staged by legendary Harry Kupfer. Great cast incl. Krassimira Stoyanova, Günther Groisböck, Sophie Koch, Mojca Erdman, Franz Welser-Möst and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The controversial 1995 Salzburg/Paris co-production of Der Rosenkavalier received a well-deserved revival at the Baden-Baden Festival in 2009. Now on DVD, Herbert Wernicke’s 15-year-old approach turns out to be curiously middle-of-the-road.
Wernicke’s fascination with mirrors proves fruitful here, creating a giant Rorschach test, fractured and multiplied on a vast scale, to provide a riveting visual framing of the artifice and actuality of the work, interweaving drama and comedy, male and female, youth and maturity, pretence and reality, that makes it all appear indissolubly tied together.
Under the conducting of Herbert Von Karajan, the Vienna State Opera Ballet, the State Opera Chorus, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the famous singers Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Otto Edelmann, all combine to give a colourful and inspiring performance of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. The story is set in the Royal Court of Vienna, where the Princess is being wooed by Octavian, a handsome young cavalier, despite her married state. Complications arise when Octavian falls in love with her younger sister, Sophie, whom another is trying to win. Set to a rousing musical score, this opera is a classic love story.
The epic grandeur of Der Rosenkavalier stems not just from its immense length (over three hours) but from the all-too-human complexity of its characters–each of whom is smitten with someone else–and the endless stream of graceful melodies the composer conjures. After the tonality-stretching dissonance of Salome and especially Elektra, Strauss moved onto a different musical path here: the music's sheer gorgeousness has given this most heartbreaking of 20th-century operas its pride of place in the repertory.