The Metropolitan Opera HD Live: Season 4, Episode 5

R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier (9 Jan. 2010)

TV Episode  |  Music
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 9 users  
Reviews: 2 user

The aristocratic Marschallin is increasingly aware of things: middle-age is approaching, her beauty is fading, and her young lover Octavian has fallen in love with someone younger and prettier than she. She knew this would happen one day.

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Title: R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier (09 Jan 2010)

R. Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier (09 Jan 2010) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Episode credited cast:
Princess von Werdenberg
Susan Graham ...
Kristinn Sigmundsson ...
Baron Ochs
Christine Schäfer ...
Thomas Allen ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
James Courtney ...
Nicholas Crawford ...
Eric Cutler ...
Italian Singer
Himself - Host
Bernard Fitch
Kenneth Floyd ...
Jeremy Galyon ...
Police Commissioner
Lee Hamilton ...
Ellen Lang ...
Robert Maher ...


The aristocratic Marschallin is increasingly aware of things: middle-age is approaching, her beauty is fading, and her young lover Octavian has fallen in love with someone younger and prettier than she. She knew this would happen one day.

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Release Date:

9 January 2010 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

A very good production, but not the best Rosenkavalier I've seen
1 February 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Der Rosenkavalier is my personal favourite Strauss opera, and one of my favourites in general, especially for the final trio. I did like this Met production overall, but I consider the 1962, 1982, 1985 and 1994 performances a little better. The costumes are simply gorgeous, especially Fleming's, and the sets while not quite as sumptuous still have beauty to them. It also helps that the High Definition as is the case with all the Met productions shown within this series is fantastic.

Strauss' music is absolutely amazing. I admit there was a time when I didn't appreciate Strauss as much as I do now, I think his style is one that grows on you the more you hear it, but now due to Der Rosenkavalier and Four Last Songs I love his music and can't get enough of it. The orchestra do a wonderful job with this score, it plays with a very expressive and lush sound, which is what several passages of the opera needs. Edo De Waart, replacing James Levine, allows the music to have a flowing and unsentimental approach. I loved the tempo of the final trio, slow it was but it was also very nuanced.

Renee Fleming is superb as the Marschallin, It is an incredibly subtle and deeply felt performance, for me her Monologue on the inexorable passage of time was one of the highlights of the performance. Her singing is gorgeous as well, the creamy tone and vocal beauty is still there, but even more impressive was Fleming's ability to sing with such expression and nuance and especially to uncover multiple meaning in the Marschallin's sad albeit wise words.

Susan Graham I liked very much as Octavian. Maybe she was not quite masculine enough, but the performance is so involved, with her Octavian feisty and her chamber maid Mariandal charming, making the most of the characters' perceptive sayings and her vocal texture is warm, resonant and robust that I could forgive that. The presentation of the rose scene is a love at first sight sort of scene and is done so beautifully and endearingly.

Kristian Sigmundssen has a very rich voice, is very tall and imposing and is suitably boorish as Baron Ochs. Overall it is a very effective performance, and doesn't fall into the trap of being too much in caricature like it could have been, if missing the humanity that Moll and Halwata brought to the role. He does have genuine comic timing while never coming across as a clown in the pantomimic scenes, though the Annina and Valzacchi never quite match him.

Not so good is Christine Schafer as Sophie. She is beautiful and alluring, and I know from her Konstanze and Gilda that she has a very pretty and agile voice, but her singing can have the same problems I had hearing Diana Damrau in the role. Some of the high notes in the longer legato phrasing especially in the trio can sound shrill and she sounds sharp sometimes. Also, I do have to agree she does have a tendency to look a little too vacant. In terms of chemistry, I think there was definitely chemistry between Fleming and Graham, Schafer not so much.

I also think the role of Valzacchi is miscast and a reason why the scenes with him, Ochs and Annina have mixed results. I think this for two reasons. One is that for me he was too young to sing of Annina of his niece. The other is that in the scene where he restrains Octavian he is too small in stature, it makes that particular scene contrived. Thomas Allen fares much better though as Faninal, very well sung and acted. All in all, very good, especially for Fleming, the costumes and Graham. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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