[Met Performance] CID:244480

Der Rosenkavalier
Metropolitan Opera House, Mon, March 8, 1976

Debut : Tatiana Troyanos, Kendall Quinn

Der Rosenkavalier (253)
Richard Strauss | Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Tatiana Troyanos [Debut]

Princess von Werdenberg (Marschallin)
Teresa Zylis-Gara

Baron Ochs
Walter Berry

Judith Blegen

William Dooley

Shirley Love

Andrea Velis

Italian Singer
Luciano Pavarotti

Marcia Baldwin

Kendall Quinn [Debut]

Princess' Major-domo
Nico Castel

Linore Aronson

Nadyne Brewer

Elvira Green

Suzanne Der Derian

Animal Vendor
Charles Kuestner

Marc Verzatt

Andrij Dobriansky

Glenn Bater

Richard Firmin

Frank Coffey

Cecil Baker

Edward Ghazal

Faninal's Major-domo
Robert Schmorr

Charles Anthony

Police Commissioner
Philip Booth

James Levine

Nathaniel Merrill

Robert O'Hearn

Der Rosenkavalier received six performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Speight Jenkins in the New York Post


Golden time is a theatrical expression referring to overtime: at the Metropolitan Opera when a performance passes midnight, overtime normally ensues. Last night the phrase took on a double meaning because precisely at 12 midnight, Teresa Zylis-Gara took a perfect B natural, the capstone of the Trio in "Der Rosenkavalier."

Miss Zylis-Gara, Judith Blegen as Sophie and Tatiana Troyanos as Octavian - was pure gold, and guided and shaped by an inspired James Levine the Trio became the perfect moment everyone wants and rarely experiences.

The performance of "Der Rosenkavalier," the first of this season at the Metropolitan was new in a score of dimensions. Levine had never conducted the work before; Miss Troyanos was making her Met debut; Nathaniel Merrill restaged a good bit of the opera; Miss Zylis-Gara was singing her first Met Marschallin; and Luciano Pavarotti was singing his first "Italian Singer."

To take the last first, Pavarotti as the Italian singer follows in a Met tradition that saw Giuseppe Di Stefano sing the role in 1949, and on many occasions in the 1960s Nicolai Gedda in the tiny, crucial part. Still, it is almost unique to have a Pavarotti in the role and the parallel in terms of popularity must go all the way back to 1911 when Strauss longed to have Caruso in the part.

The great Neapolitan never sang it, but now our largest tenor has done it, and with such style as may not be surpassed. The tessitura of the aria was made for Pavarotti and to hear him take that C flat is to hear what the composer must have imagined when he wrote it.

He was funny as well, but very proper. Dressed in a gold coat and full of stage business, he added a flair to the performance that is what the phrase Metropolitan Opera is supposed to mean.

But the real stuff of the performance lay with Maestro Levine. His "Rosenkavalier" is different, no question about it, and to this listener very, very Viennese. He is Viennese in the sense of rubato, in the fact that every waltz could really be danced to and in the pacing of the music to make Hofmannsthal's designation of the opera as a "Comedy for Music" a reality.

Last night's performance moved. It was, by the clock, longer than normal, but it never seemed so. The longuers of Act II seemed nonexistent. And there was a constant sense of developing toward the big moments without too much tension or too much enthusiasm.

As for loudness, Levine must see the opera as a logical step from "Salome" and "Elektra" not as a departure. The voices are part of the tissue of the orchestra, and therefore seem to be surrounded by orchestra more than normal. But they were not covered as often happens in "Rosenkavalier," and no one seemed to be forcing.

The orchestra played brilliantly. The violins had the right silver gleam and the horns were unusually clean.

The star of the show was Miss Troyanos. The most aristocratic Octavian at the Met in years, she splendidly acted a girl playing a boy (and sometimes playing at being a girl), Never did she overdo; she looked handsome (not beautiful); she moved gracefully; and her hauteur could have only belonged to someone in the nobility.

Vocally, the role seemed perfect for her. She has a large, warming lyric mezzo-soprano with perfect control and an even, balanced sound throughout. She knew exactly how much sound to put out to fit into Levine's conception, and her singing of the Trio and the final duet was perfection itself.

Octavian, though, is a role that many have succeeded in; the Marschallin is far harder, and Miss Zylis-Gara had her problems. Vocally, she had none. Few have ever sung the whole role so easily.

Dramatically, however, she was not in the class of the Princess von Werdenerg. And her bourgeois manner showed up all the worse contrasted to Miss Troyanos. She knew the words of Act I, but did not seem to know really what they meant.

In her favor, however, she did not "act" but tried naturally to live the role. If only she could get some of what, say, Sena Jurinac put into this character, and keep her own gorgeous voice and musicianship, she would be sensational.

Judith Blegen has sung Sophie for several years at the Met. Before last night, she has always seemed a little tame. Something made her bring the fire she puts into roles such as Marzelline into Sophie and with her superb vocalism she gave Octavian a real choice.

Finally, Walter Berry again portrayed his lovable Baron Ochs. No one can ever be so Viennese or so charming, and as usual, he adapted to the other principals. William Dooley enacted his superior Faninal as well.

The Metropolitan "Rosenkavalier" has often left this listener cold - a solid professional performance and no more; last night's was alive. The audience discovered Vienna in the 18th Century, and lived it via almost insupportably beautiful music. It was an experience to be treasured; with such performances opera gets a new lease on life.

Search by season: 1975-76

Search by title: Der Rosenkavalier,

Met careers