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Subject: Der Rosenkavalier premiere at the MET - 13.IV.2017
From: Sergio da Silva <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Sergio da Silva <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 25 Apr 2017 16:56:47 -0400

text/plain (26 lines)

Last Thursday I twent to Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier first performance of the season.I expected too much I guess because it was a major disappointment.
The production by Robert Carsen was, as expected, major flop. I have to confess I usually hate his productions because of the disrespect for the libretto and the score; at the MET this time it was no different.
 Act I started with Octavian not in the bed with the Marschalin but instead  enjoying a nice cigarette outside the bedroom. Then the Marschalin joins Octavian and the bedroom door is raised and we're finally at the Marschalin chamber. But some small disappointments start settling in, there is no Mohammed to serve breakfast one of the most charming moments in the play and in the score. At least the set had a lot of depth so one could clearly see the guests coming and leaving. The room was basically loaded in red color. Baron Ochs received a harsh treatment, depitcted as a thug, nothing else, not an ounce of humanity. The end of act one was also altered, instead of the Marschalin looking at the mirror we just saw her leave our house to visit her uncle.
Act II was a major disaster, Carsen blew up the fact that Faninal owns a weapons/arms factory out of proportion and put two canons in the living room which was basically black and white - one of the ugliest scenarios I've seen at the Met. At least we got the presentation of the Rose (but the idea of having couples which were like copies of Octavian/Sophie was another nuisance). The rest of the act just went downhill from there, the cannon came back, Ochs was even more aggressive than Act 1 and got his own army! One of the most expected moments in the score when Ochs sings the waltz totally destroyed by having Ochs and his army pose for a picture!!! Carsen forgot to put a blind man in the set somehow and then  the regie theater would be complete!
Act three was a brothel !!! That would make the apparently innocent Mariandel a whore! I will say no more, but I doubt the Marschalin would show up in such a place.
Musically the conducting of Sebastian Weigle matched the production, Weigle making the score appear to be written by Berg, constantly down playing the “sweet” moments and keeping the orchestra loud (Fleming and Morley paid the price). Acts 2 and 3 were really bad, both never flowed in spite of the excellence of the MET orchestra.
Although Fleming was tn good voice there is no disguising time has moved on, the pianissimos are not the same and the voice does not project as well as in the past.
I finally got to listen to Elina Garanca (after 2 cancellations all totally justified) and she was excellent, the voice projected powerfully in the MET auditorium, she also acted the role perfectly. Her voice is even throughout the range and she can control it from fortissimo to pianissimo. Brava!
Günther Groissböck was the worst Baron I've ever heard in my life, the characterization of the role totally wrong and the low notes a hit and miss, plus he can't seem to sing pianissimo.
Erin Morley was a good Sophie, although the voice is small, she also acted well, her best moment was in the final duet with Garanca.
Matthew Polenzani did very well as the Italian singer, delivering his fiendish aria with aplomb.
The rest of the cast was very good.
But I can't get past this production and for the first time in my life at the MET I booed loudly at the end at the production team and I wasn’t alone! 

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