Thursday, December 14, 2006

Second Rosenkavalier in Paris

[in progress]

Well, in a word, tonight's Rosenkavalier was so-so. I'm not sure what wasn't right. Maybe Anne Schwanewilms, recovering from illness that kept her away from two performances, was not in top form. There were some good moments, but she was frequently covered. She deserves credit, however, for her thoughtful characterization. This is an angry and bitter Marschallin. My highest compliment: Schwanewilms makes us think, "Ah, so that's what the text is saying!" She emphasized her character's bitterness in Act I when she tells Octavian that he'll fall in love with a younger, prettier girl. When the Marschallin sees the look on Octavian's face upon Sophie's entrance in Act III, Schwanewilms portrayed the very definition of extreme disappointment.

Elina Garanca's voice lacked its trademark shimmering warmth for much of the evening, and, though few mezzos today could make such a fetching young lad, she was too subtle next to Schwanewilms and Heidi Grant Murphy, both highly expressive actresses. Garanca certainly has a flair for comedy; her best moments were as "Mariandel."

Grant Murphy's voice is really tiny but she was again a lovely Sophie.

The tenor playing the Italian singer stumbled horribly on a high note (his voice gave out) and sang the troublesome phrase an octave lower in the reprise. He of course didn't come out for the Act I curtain calls. I felt his pain. This must have been tough. I mean, you're cast in a cameo role, and you come out wearing a tuxedo and looking flashy, surrounded by photographers, and you sing these long, very difficult lines, and you're supposed to be really impressive, because the audience is supposed to get a sense of the wistful state of the Marschallin, who doesn't look up as he sings. Anyway. He was fine on Sunday, and I hope he gets it together for the remaining performances. (I have to say, I also heard this young singer as Narraboth in Salome at the beginning of this season. I'm worried about him. He doesn't look comfortable on stage and his voice sounds strained. It seemed that he was poised for an international career, but I don't see it happening.) This is too much text for such a small incident, but it was worth mentioning.

I thoroughly enjoyed Franz Hawlata's Ochs. His was a vivid and involved portrayal, and his leathery voice has a certain charm.

[in progress]

1 comment:

badiana said...

Well, I saw the last performance of Rosenkavalier in Paris - if anybody knows the name of the person who substituted Sindram as Octavian, let me kow, because I could not find out! On the whole, I thought Schanewilms was one of the best Marschallin I have ever seen... such bitterness hidden inside her, and that gorgeous gorgeous voice... the end of act I was heart-breaking!