Music and Vision homepage Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller

 

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We've been privileged to hear soprano Malin Hartelius in previous performances here, and her Sophie was totally enchanting. She made a perfect foil for the bearer of the rose, and their duet in the second act was otherworldly with its ethereal aspects. Her duenna, the erstwhile Miss Marianne Leitmetzerin was very capably sung by the soprano Erica Strauss.

The latter part of Act II featured a long sequence with the famed bass, Alfred Muff as Baron Ochs. He is referred to in Act I as a 'vain, pretentious fellow' and indeed he is just that, but yet, not without his own charms! He has a keen and wandering eye for the ladies, however, so is fair game for the antics of the maid Mariandel. His waltz 'Without me, with me' was sumptuous, wrapped as it was around the letter from Mariandel setting up a rendezvous. As he is a tad tipsy, Ochs asks his servant Annina (mezzo Judith Christin) to read it for him. He never quite becomes the buffo, or caricature of himself, but is comical, none the less.

The scene changes to an inn for the final act, highlighted in red lights everywhere, including the auditorium. The prelude was effervescent, alerting us to the comic proceedings to follow. Annina is now disguised as a woman with a multitude of children and claims Ochs as the husband/father. To say he is surprised by this declaration is an understatement. To get out from under this problem, Ochs claims Mariandel as his fiancée, which irritates Sophie's father into canceling the betrothal. When the Marschallin and Sophie arrive, the police remove everyone else, leaving just the three of them on stage. Octavian must now choose between the two women, and with the guidance of the Marschallin, wisely chooses Sophie.

From left to right: Katarina Karneus (Octavian), Dorothea Röschmann (The Marschallin) and Malin Hartelius (Sophie) with (below) Franz Welser-Möst and members of The Cleveland Orchestra in Act 3 of 'Der Rosenkavalier' by Richard Strauss. Photo © 2007 Roger Mastroianni
From left to right: Katarina Karneus (Octavian), Dorothea Röschmann (The Marschallin) and Malin Hartelius (Sophie) with (below) Franz Welser-Möst and members of The Cleveland Orchestra in Act 3 of 'Der Rosenkavalier' by Richard Strauss. Photo © 2007 Roger Mastroianni

Meticulous attention was paid to the casting in every case. Each singer looked the part and had the necessary vocal capacity and range for a successful portrayal. Tenor Matthew Polenzani had the beautiful sound and ringing tones so vital for the Italian Singer. Volker Vogel (the witch in our Hansel & Gretel two years ago) was appropriately smarmy as Valzacchi, the intriguer. Bass Richard Sutliff (last year's Falstaff) had the necessary heft to be an authoritative police commissioner as well as the notary.

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Copyright © 16 June 2007 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA

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