[Met Performance] CID:148070
Der Rosenkavalier {128} Eastman Theatre, Rochester, New York: 5/17/1948.

(Review)


Rochester, New York
May 17, 1948


DER ROSENKAVALIER {128}

Octavian.....................Risė Stevens
Princess von Werdenberg......Irene Jessner
Baron Ochs...................Emanuel List
Sophie.......................Eleanor Steber
Faninal......................Hugh Thompson
Annina.......................Martha Lipton
Valzacchi....................John Garris
Italian Singer...............Kurt Baum
Marianne.....................Thelma Votipka
Mahomet......................Peggy Smithers
Princess' Major-domo.........Leslie Chabay
Orphan.......................Thelma Altman
Orphan.......................Paula Lenchner
Orphan.......................Maxine Stellman
Milliner.....................Frances Greer
Animal Vendor................Anthony Marlowe
Hairdresser..................Edward Caton
Notary.......................Gerhard Pechner
Leopold......................Ludwig Burgstaller
Faninal's Major-domo.........Anthony Marlowe
Innkeeper....................Leslie Chabay
Police Commissioner..........Lorenzo Alvary

Conductor....................Fritz Busch


Review of Norman Nairn in the Rochester, New York Democrat and Chronicle

Strauss Opera Proves Delight At Eastman

With a cast of principals that was tops in every way, the glamorous visit of the Metropolitan Opera Association at the Eastman last night produced one of the most thoroughly enjoyable performances the "Met" yet has presented in Rochester.

The opera was "Der Rosenkavalier," ("The Cavalier of the Rose"), one of most popular modern operas in the Met repertoire, with its captivating silken music of Richard Strauss, the libretto of Hugo von Hofmannsthal a mixture of humor and nostalgic sentimentality of old Vienna, with a bit of farce and satire thrown in.

Hardly could anything have been more uproariously funny than the third act scene between Octavian (Rise Stevens) and Baron Ochs (Emanuel List) where the tricks played on the boastful and debauched Baron almost drive him to distraction. And at the other end of the category of emotion was the pathos of Princess von Werdenberg (Irene Jessner) in the first act as she realizes the inroads of approaching age have made her affair with the 17-year old lad her last.

It would be difficult to single out any one member of the cast as head and shoulders above the rest, so well balanced was the entire offering.

The plot itself is one of those involved things which nevertheless is beautifully entertaining, concerning as it does the affair between a middle-aged woman (the Princess) and her young lover (Octavian), and the latter's transfer of affections to a young girl whose father insists she wed an old roué.

A Superb Octavian

Rise Stevens was a radiant and superb Octavian, acting with ardor and buoyancy the impassioned youth enamored of the Princess. Whether as the callow youth or in the impersonation of the maid, she was a charming personage, good to look upon, vivacious. And her singing, with telling, vibrant tones, was just as consistently convincing.

Irene Jessner as the aging Princess was wholly plausible in her interpretation as well as tonally lovely. Her scene of final resignation as she realizes she is no longer young had pathos as well.

As for Emanuel List as Baron Ochs, his was not only superb singing but his fatuousness and sometimes broad humor was a constant source of entertainment. There was nothing of the burlesque about it, which could easily have ruined the part. This important role certainly was in experienced hands.

Eleanor Steber is a favorite in Rochester. She played Sophie last night, the girl whose father insists should marry the Baron. Dramatically and visually it was a telling and naļve portrayal, while her singing was limpid and appealing.

Persuasive Singing

The part of "A Singer" who entertains the Princess in her first act levee is small but highly important. Kurt Baum played the role, and his singing of the taxing aria which lies particularly high in register, displayed a tenor voice which was at once persuasive, as well as having ringing climactic tones.

Hugh Thompson as Von Faninal, the fussy and toadying father of Sophie, Thelma Votipka as Marianne, Martha Lipton as Annina, and all the lesser roles were in keeping with the high caliber of the principals. Thelma Altman, an Eastman School graduate, now with the Met for several years, had a minor role as one of the Three Orphans, with Maxine Stellman and Paula Lenchner.

Success in keeping the production moving with elan and smoothness was due to the conducting of Fritz Busch, and the Met's orchestra played the Strauss wealth of melody, which makes frequent use of the waltz, with delicate freshness. From this music a special arrangement of waltzes has been made, which is wonderfully popular in the repertoire.

Incidentally personnel of the orchestra includes two\Eastman graduates, Walter Hagen, violin and Robert Boyd, first trombone. Boyd, I am told, will play next year with the Cleveland Symphony.

This was the end of the line for the Met this season, concluding its tour. As an aside, I suppose a problem of presenting the opera in English was insurmountable?



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