[Met Performance] CID:259840

Der Rosenkavalier
Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, December 13, 1979

Debut : Agnes Baltsa, Aage Haugland, Ernst Gutstein

Der Rosenkavalier (269)
Richard Strauss | Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Agnes Baltsa [Debut]

Princess von Werdenberg (Marschallin)
Anna Tomowa-Sintow

Baron Ochs
Aage Haugland [Debut]

Judith Blegen

Ernst Gutstein [Debut]

Shirley Love

James Atherton

Italian Singer
Seth McCoy

Elizabeth Coss

Kyle Cheseborough

Princess' Major-domo
John Carpenter

Mary Fercana

Barbara Bystrom

Ann Sessions

Linda Mays

Animal Vendor
John Hanriot

Donald Mahler

Andrij Dobriansky

Glenn Bater

Richard Firmin

Frank Coffey

Dennis Steff

Donald Peck

Faninal's Major-domo
Nico Castel

Charles Anthony

Police Commissioner
Philip Booth

Erich Leinsdorf

Nathaniel Merrill

Robert O'Hearn

Lighting Designer
Gil Wechsler

Der Rosenkavalier received eight performances this season.

Review 1:

Review of Bill Zakariasen in the Daily News

New Strauss Voices

Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier" was revived at the Metropolitan Opera Thursday night with an almost completely new cast which included three debuts. The most important of the latter was Greek mezzo Agnes Baltsa in the trouser role of Octavian. Baltsa has been creating quite a commotion of late in Europe for her bright, clean sound and razor-sharp technique, to say nothing of her striking good looks and carriage. These qualities were abundant in her Met debut. Her voice, while not sounding particularly voluminous in this hall, easily filled it anyway and was noticeably successful (and never embarrassing in the least) in her characterization

of a lovestruck adolescent, giving Octavian an intriguing touch of vulnerability.

Another successful debutante was Ernst Gutstein, a veteran "heldenbariton" long active in Germany, as Faninal. His experienced voice easily encompassed the difficult range. while he brought out plenty of humor and pomposity in the role without overplaying.

The third newcomer was Danish bass Aage Haugland, a big, beefy young man who physically at least would seem an ideal Baron Ochs. Well, while I don't like to see Ochs played as a dirty old man, he should hardly be as well-mannered and innocent as Haugland played him. Eventually especially in the face of Balsa's strong performance as his antagonist Octavian (she wasn't exactly sporting in the Act II duet), the main reaction we had towards Ochs was pity. Haugland made all the

rumbly low notes of the part, but the, upper reaches were often precariously fluttery or just not there.

Soprano Anna-Tomowa-Sintow, in her first Marschallin here, sang with full tone and ease, looking quite radiant. If she gave no special insights to this beloved character, she was always believable. Soprano Judith Blegen was the familiarly pert, well-vocalized Sophie. Tenor Seth McCoy sounded surprisingly at ease in the terrifying role of the Italian Singer, while basso Philip Booth as the Police Commissioner was in notably refurbished voice. Elizabeth Coss was the customary strong-voiced Marianne, but the Italian conspirators Valzacchi and Annina, as played by James Atherton and Shirley Love, seemed to disappear into the scenery.

Erich Leinsdorf conducted - as usual, his practiced hand and mind kept things nicely together. If he didn't really make much music, he at least played most of the notes, save the standard cuts and letting the trumpet play that famous misprint of E flat instead of E natural in the "Presentation of the Rose."

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