STRAUSS: Der Rosenkavalier
'AMOR, VIDA DE MI VIDA" Music of Chueca, Torroba, Carné, de Falla, Serrano,
Otero, Bellido, Penella, Sorozábal and Chapí.
This production of Der Rosenkavalier, directed by Herbert Wernicke who also designed sets and costumes, had its premiere at the 1995 Salzburg Festival. This revival in Baden-Baden was filmed January 31, 2009. The simple sets feature large changing panels and mirrors; it works quite effectively. Renée Fleming is in top form as the Marschallin and looks stunning. Sophie Koch and Diana Damrau are perfect as the young lovers. Franz Hawlata doesn't have the deep voice necessary for Ochs, but he acts well. Talk about luxury casting: Jonas Kaufmann is cast as the Italian singer! Brian Large was video director and he did his usual excellent job. Audio is somewhat muddy; Strauss's rich orchestral textures are not totally conveyed. Towards the end of the curtain calls, the entire orchestra appears on stage with conductor Thielemann before the enthusiastic audience. This is a worthy Rosenkavalier, if far from a definitive one.
Medici Arts has issued a concert recorded August 9-10, 2007 at the conclusion of the Salzburg Festival. Star tenors Plácido Domingo and Rolando Vila were to have appeared but the latter's vocal crisis forced him to cancel. His replacement was young soprano Ana Maria Martinez, who was no stranger to Salzburg; she had sung Fiordiligi in Cosí fan tutte the previous summer. The program featured music from the zarzuela by a variety of composers, as well as orchestral works by Falla—and, perhaps to cater to the German audience, a duet from The Merry Widow. Domingo continues to amaze with the quality of his singing, and he was perfectly paired with Martínez who has performed with him many times. The Mozarteum Orchestra adapted whole heartedly to the Hispanic idiom under Jesüs López Cobos's direction. Superb video and audio add to the value of this delightful release.
R.E.B. (December 2009)