Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Reviews

Anna Netrebko, now a dramatic soprano, shines in the Met’s dark and murky ‘Macbeth’

The former lyric soprano holds up well — and survives the intrusive close-up camerawork of the ‘Live in HD’ transmission

Arizona Opera Presents First Mariachi Opera

Houston Grand Opera commissioned Cruzar la Cara de la Luna from composer José “Pepe” Martínez, music director of Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, who wrote the text together with Broadway and opera director Leonard Foglia. The work had its world premier in 2010. Since then, it has traveled to several cities including Paris, Chicago, and San Diego.

Plácido Domingo: I due Foscari, London

“Why should I go to hear Plácido Domingo” someone said when Verdi’s I due Foscari was announced by the Royal Opera House. There are very good reasons for doing so.

Philip Glass’s The Trial

Music Theatre Wales presented the world premiere of Philip Glass’s The Trial (Kafka) last night at the Linbury, Royal Opera House. Music Theatre Wales started doing Glass in 1989. Their production of Glass’s In the Penal Colony in 2010 was such a success that Glass conceived The Trial specially for the company.

Joyce DiDonato: Alcina, Barbican, London

To say that the English Concert’s performance of Handel’s Alcina at the Barbican on 10 October 2014 was hotly anticipated would be an understatement. Sold out for weeks, the performance capitalised on the draw of its two principals Joyce DiDonato and Alice Coote and generated the sort of buzz which the work did at its premiere.

Un ballo in maschera in San Francisco

The subject is regicide, a hot topic during the Italian risorgimento when the Italian peninsula was in the grip of the Hapsburgs, the Bourbons, the House of Savoy and the Pontiff of the Catholic Church.

A New Don Giovanni and Anniversary at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago opened its sixtieth anniversary season with a new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni directed by Artistic Director of the Goodman Theater, Robert Falls.

Grande messe des morts, LSO

It was a little over two years ago that I heard Sir Colin Davis conduct the Berlioz Requiem in St Paul’s Cathedral; it was the last time I heard — or indeed saw — him conduct his beloved and loving London Symphony Orchestra.

Guillaume Tell, Welsh National Opera

Part of their Liberty or Death season along with Rossini’s Mose in Egitto and Bizet’s Carmen, Welsh National Opera performed David Pountney’s new production of Rossini’s Guillaume Tell (seen 4 October 2014).

Mose in Egitto, Welsh National Opera

Welsh National Opera’s production of Rossini’s Mose in Egitto was the second of two Rossini operas (the other is Guillaume Tell) performed in tandem for their autumn tour.

L’incoronazione di Poppea, Barbican Hall

In Monteverdi’s first Venetian opera, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse (1641), Penelope’s patient devotion as she waits for the return of her beloved Ulysses culminates in the triumph of love and faithfulness; in contrast, in L’incoronazione di Poppea it is the eponymous Queen’s lust, passion and ambition that prevail.

Rameau’s Les Paladins, Wigmore Hall

After the triumphs of love, the surprises: Les Paladins, under their director Jérôme Correas, and soprano Sandrine Piau are following their tour of material from their 2011 CD, ‘Le Triomphe de L’amour’, with a new amatory arrangement.

Puccini : The Girl of the Golden West, ENO London

At the ENO, Puccini's La fanciulla del West becomes The Girl of the Golden West. Hearing this opera in English instead of Italian has its advantages, While we can still hear the exotic, Italianate Madama Butterfly fantasies in the orchestra, in English, we're closer to the original pot-boiler melodrama. Madama Biutterfly is premier cru: The Girl of the Golden West veers closer, at times, to hokum. The new ENO production gets round the implausibility of the plot by engaging with its natural innocence.

Anna Caterina Antonacci, Wigmore Hall, London

Presenting a well-structured and characterful programme, Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci demonstrated her prowess in both soprano and mezzo repertoire in this Wigmore Hall recital, performing European works from the early years of the twentieth century. Assuredly accompanied by her regular pianist Donald Sulzen, Antonacci was self-composed and calm of manner, but also evinced a warmly engaging stage presence throughout.

Il barbiere di Siviglia, Royal Opera

Bold, bright and brash, Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier’s Il barbiere di Siviglia tells its story clearly in complementary primary colours.

Gluck and Bertoni at Bampton

Bampton Classical Opera’s 2014 double bill neatly balanced drollery and gravity. Rectifying the apparent prevailing indifference to the 300th centenary of Christoph Willibald Gluck birth, Bampton offered a sharp, witty production of the composer’s Il Parnaso confuso, pairing this ‘festa teatrale’ with Ferdinando Bertoni’s more sombre Orfeo.

Purcell: A Retrospective

Harry Christophers and The Sixteen Choir and Orchestra launched the Wigmore Hall’s two-year series, ‘Purcell: A Retrospective’, in splendid style. Flexibility, buoyancy and transparency were the watchwords.

Mahler: Symphony no.3 — Prom 73

It would be unfair, but one could summarise this concert with the words, ‘Senator, you’re no Leonard Bernstein.’

Los Angeles Opera Opens with La traviata

On September 13, Los Angeles Opera opened its 2014-2015 season with a revival of Marta Domingo’s updated, Art Deco staging of Giuseppe Verdi’s La traviata. It starred Nino Machaidze as Violetta, Arturo Chácon-Cruz as Alfredo, and Plácido Domingo as Giorgio Germont. The conductor was Music Director James Conlon.

Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park, 2014

In its annual concert previewing the forthcoming season Lyric Opera of Chicago presented its “Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park” during the past weekend to a large audience of enthusiastic listeners.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier
20 May 2011

Elizabeth Schwarzkopf in Der Rosenkavalier

Classic films often receive the honor of a full “restoration,” especially when a new viewing format appears.

Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier

The Marschallin: Elizabeth Schwarzkopf; Octavian: Sena Jurinac; Sophie: Anneliese Rothenberger; Baron Ochs: Otto Edlelmann. Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Kultur D4684 [DVD]

$37.99 (Blu-Ray)  Click to buy

The companies behind the product get another marketing opportunity, and the fans get the chance to see a beloved work of art in a state-of-the-art reproduction.

Such seems to be the promise behind a recent Kultur release of a “restored & remastered” version of Paul Czinner’s classic 1962 film of Der Rosenkavalier, from the Salzburg Festival, with Herbert von Karajan conducting the Vienna Philharmonic and a superlative cast: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as the Marschallin, Sena Jurinac in the title role, Anneliese Rotherberger as Sophie and Otto Edlelmann as Baroc Ochs.

As compared to a drab VHS version your reviewer saw some years ago, this DVD version does indeed have sharper colors and adequate sound. However, the film quality still shows its age, and audiophiles have no special reason to rejoice. The chief advantage of this new version is the addition of subtitles — that VHS version had none. Kultur does retain the synopses that begin each act, which have a certain historic charm, although the subtitles make them superfluous. The review copy offers nothing else — a one page track listing is the only thing provided in place of a booklet.

In the end, any disappointment provoked by the above state of affairs is washed away in the glory of this impeccably classy and traditional performance. The opera of composer Richard Strauss and librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal has depths and dark corners unexamined in this lovely 1962 presentation, and so we can be thankful for some of the more successful non-traditional productions of Der Rosenkavalier seen in recent years. Still, charm is not a negligible quality, and charm of one sort or another smiles out of almost every frame of this film.

Kultur has Schwarzkopf’s Marchallin as the cover, and she does dominate act one and the closing segment of act three. The voice undoubtedly had more plushness in earlier years, but ameliorating that loss is the mature wisdom of her understated portrayal. She knows this is no longer a stage performance, and she lets her eyes provide the acting. When she gathers her gown and departs after the trio, her visage from behind has more dramatic force than many performers manage facing the audience. Sena Jurinac neither sings nor acts convincingly as a male adolescent, but in the fairy-tale aspect of this work, her Octavian fits right in. In a role that be too cutesy by half, Annelise Rothenberger as Sophie earns our love along with Octavian’s, although one might wish for just a bit more security in the very highest notes. Otto Edelmann’s is a classically crude and obnoxious Ochs, which does make act three feel long until his disappearance (despite the fact that it is cut already). His epic last note at the end of act two won’t satisfy those who want the walls to reverberate with low vibrations, but he gets it out.

Herbert von Karajan loved to be filmed conducting, but there director Czinner keeps the camera on the stage, excepting, of course, the opening instrumental passages. Amusingly enough, Karajan does get the final bow.

So while this may not be the truest, most rewarding “restoration and remastering” imaginable, anything that puts this film on the market again deserves our thanks. Thank you, Kultur!

Chris Mullins

 

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):