[Met Performance] CID:319550
Der Rosenkavalier {341} Metropolitan Opera House: 03/1/1995.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
March 1, 1995


DER ROSENKAVALIER {341}

Octavian.....................Anne Sofie von Otter
Princess von Werdenberg......Mechthild Gessendorf
Baron Ochs...................Franz Hawlata
Sophie.......................Heidi Grant Murphy
Faninal......................Gottfried Hornik
Annina.......................Rosalind Elias
Valzacchi....................Michel SÚnÚchal
Italian Singer...............Stanford Olsen
Marianne.....................Susan Neves
Mahomet......................Erin Gallop
Princess' Major-domo.........Nico Castel
Orphan.......................Sandra Bush
Orphan.......................Judith Goldberg
Orphan.......................Constance Green
Milliner.....................Beverly Withers
Animal Vendor................Irwin Reese
Hairdresser..................Sam Cardea
Notary.......................James Courtney
Leopold......................Ross Crolius
Lackey.......................Arthur Apy
Lackey.......................David Asch
Lackey.......................Donald Peck
Lackey.......................Kun Yul Yoo
Faninal's Major-domo.........Anthony Laciura
Innkeeper....................Charles Anthony
Police Commissioner..........Stephen West
Widow........................Suzanne Der Derian

Conductor....................James Levine

Review of Terry Teachout in the Daily News


'Rosenkavalier' Otter-ly Charming

Anne Sofie Von Otter, the Swedish mezzo-soprano whose New York appearances are heartbreakingly rare, gave the first of four performances Wednesday as Octavian in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier." Had she been singing next door at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, von Otter would have been a cinch for a Tony,

Octavian is a "trouser role": a woman playing a man. In this case, the man is an ardent young Viennese count who is having an affair with an older woman, and who, through a series of quintessentially operatic plot twists, finds himself required to impersonate his lover's maid. Not only is the role both vocally and dramatically demanding, it turns deadly serious in the opera's last 15 minutes.

Great Octavians are as rare as painless dentists, and Anne Sofie von Otter is one of the greatest. Her ravishing, technically impeccable singing is as close to perfect as singing gets. It's comic flair that surprises. The spectacle of a 6-foot tall Scandinavian
beauty making faces worthy of Carol Burnett is wondrous to behold. Had Wednesday's performance been average, or even very good, von Otter would have walked away with it. Instead, she was just one part of the most consistently satisfying night at the Met I've had in the last few years.

Mechthild Gessendorf may be too matronly to look the part of the Marchallin, but she sang it exquisitely; Franz Hawlata, making his Met debut as Baron Ochs, was ripe of voice and deliciously overripe in character; Heidi Grant Murphy was fresh and charming as Sophie. Even the cameo roles were tossed off with flair, Rosalind Elias (as Annina) very much in particular. And James Levine conducted with total professionalism, emphasizing the comedy and soft-pedaling the Viennese sentimentality.

In the end, though, this show was mainly about Anne Sofie von Otter. You have three more chances to see her in "Der Rosenkavalier" this afternoon and on March 7 and 10. Don't miss it. She's the best Octavian imaginable - maybe the best ever.



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