Der Rosenkavalier, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Feb 2009

This production by Götz Friedrich sets the opera in the early twentieth century, and it works very convincingly. Daniela Sindram was the best Octavian I’ve ever seen, singing and acting the part of a young man to perfection. Her body movement was entirely masculine, and when she pretended to be the little maid Mariandel, she managed to do the young man being a young woman brilliantly. Kurt Rydl’s portrayal of Baron Ochs was superbly natural, without over-acting or stepping over the line into farce, as sometimes happens with this part, and his singing was thoroughly engaging. Michaela Kaune as the Marschallin also sang well, and while she did not portray the knowing sexiness and air of quiet command that some of the great Marschallins have, she evinced a lovely vulnerability, and her voice in the solo passages at the end was sublime. These three cast members carried the opera, and were very well supported by Burkhard Ulrich and Ulrike Helzel as the scheming Valzacchi and Anina, and by Ofelia Sala as a rather frumpy young Sophie, who had a little more vibrato than I would like. The orchestra played in a restrained and lyrical way under the baton of Peter Schneider, and this was a fitting finale to a great week of Richard Strauss.

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