Der Rosenkavalier, Royal Opera, a second view, December 2009.Posted on 24 December 2009
This was my second view, on the last night of the run, and although Soile Isokoski was clearly better in Act I than she was on the first night, I found the whole performance underwhelming. Once again it was Lucy Crowe as Sophie who was the star of the evening, along with Peter Rose as a refreshingly young looking Baron Ochs, behaving like an ill-mannered frat-boy. I’m afraid I just wasn’t wowed by Ms. Isokoski as the Marschallin, nor by Sophie Koch as Octavian. In Act III it was Lucy Crowe who really pulled at the heart strings, showing how devastated her character Sophie felt by the evening’s charade. Yet it should be Octavian and the Marschallin’s moment. Octavian nearly tripped when stepping backwards, and his/her complete lack of reaction to this emphasised just how much the movements were unnatural and choreographed. However the trio at the end was gloriously sung, and well worth waiting for.
As for the conducting, there was plenty of variety from Kirill Petrenko in the orchestra pit, and I liked the colouring of Act I, with the disharmonious noise in the levée scene contrasted with other parts of that act. But I felt that some of the high points in the opera went missing, particularly the entrance of the Marschallin in Act III. Admittedly, Soile Isokoski lacked the required stage presence, but this is where the orchestra should really raise our emotions, and it failed to do so.
This production of Rosenkavalier is a good one, and I look forward to seeing it again at Covent Garden. As Octavian they might consider hiring Daniela Sindram who was outstanding in February 2009 in the production I saw at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. I would also love to see Kate Lindsey do the role if she adds Strauss to her repertoire, having just seen her as a very fine Nicklausse in the Met’s Hoffmann.