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Subject: Richard Strauss's "Capriccio" at the Semper Oper; Dresden - Dec 4
From: DAN KESSLER <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:DAN KESSLER <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 10 Dec 2005 15:55:43 -0500
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When the frontiscurtain was raised, it revealed the folds of a rich red
velour curtain and as the first notes of the string sextet began steel into
the darkened auditorium -- I felt I could have been back in the Mozarteum
in Salzburg -- such was the clarity and warmth of the strings as heard in
this marvelous auditorium, not to mention the quality of the playing of
this Dresdenere Staatskapelle ensemble.

As the final bars faded, the red velour curtain began to be pulled very
slowly from stage right as it made its progress to stage left, revealing a
virtually bare stage -- a curved hall with a built-in seating "shelf."  No
harp, and yes, there was a harpsichord and maybe a couple of chairs or so,
but little else.  No bell for the Countess to summon chocolates (as in the
Scholakade pause -- there would be none-- and the piece would be played
straight through for 2-1/2 hours).  When it came time for the Graefin to
play the harp -- she only went to the harpsichord and played a few notes
and departed as she sang the rest of her scene.  No matter!

But the good news was the Countess of Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund, was
for me --a real find, one who gave us a ravishing Countess worthy of the
likes of Claire Watson, whom I saw in Munich many years ago.  Word has it
that her Ariadne is also quite fine.

The Graf or Count was to be baritone Olaf Baer....but were informed that he
was indisposed.   Instead, we had baritone Andreas Scheibner as a
replacement -- he was quite fine.

I should also like to put in a good word for the Clairon of Anke Vondung --
a plush sound that reminded me of Christa Ludwig.

The two in pursuit of the Countess's favor were tenor Martin Homrich
(Flamand) and Markus Butter (Olivier) -- no complaints here -- although
lacking truly glamorous voices.  Also in the cast, the reliable Jan-Henrick
Rootering's La Roche, also seen at the Met in that role which has become
one of his "calling cards."  No diminution of his powers in this outing --
in fact, he seemed as assured as ever.

Conductor Peter Schneider had things under control in the pit and his
ensemble played like gods.

Frankly, I do not know what to make of Marco Arthuro Marelli's production
-- it was not particularly to my liking. Beside the absence of a harp, no
mirror for the Countess to look into in the last scene.  Instead, as the
performance progressed, small triangular portions of the wall of the set
stage right began to flip or fly away, revealing reflective glass.  It was
in one of these torn openings that the Graefin sought her mirrored image
when seeking the truth of her dilemma in the last scene-- was it words, or
music!

And yes, at the end, the "Haushofmeister," made to appear as an aged man --
was the one who walked with the aid of a cane --and with obvious effort
---pulled the large red velour curtain slowly back from stage right to
stage left .....as the last bars of the lush autumnal music faded.

Was he meant to be Richard Strauss?

Kind regards,

Dan Kessler

------

Personen

die Graefin                          Camilla Nylund
der Graf                              Andreas Scheibner
Flamand                             Martin Homrich
Olivier                                Marcus Butter
La Roche                           Jan-Henrick Rootering
Clairon                               Anke Vondung
Monsieur Taupe                  Tom martinsen
Eine italiensiche Sangerin   Roxanna Incontrera
Ein italienischer tenor         Woo-Kyung Kim
Eine junge Tanzerin            Melanie Cahill
Der Haushofmeister            Hajo Mueller
Acht Diener                       Rafael Harnish
                                         Andreas Heinze
                                         Christof Bodenstein
                                         Mirko Tuma
                                         Andreas Soika
                                         Enrico Schubert
                                         Klaus Milde
                                         Thomas Mueller

Keine Pause

Beginn 19.00 Uhr
Ende    21.20 Uhr

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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