[Met Performance] CID:260060

Der Rosenkavalier
Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, January 3, 1980

Der Rosenkavalier (274)
Richard Strauss | Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Agnes Baltsa

Princess von Werdenberg (Marschallin)
Anna Tomowa-Sintow

Baron Ochs
Aage Haugland

Judith Blegen

Ernst Gutstein

Shirley Love

James Atherton

Italian Singer
Seth McCoy

Elizabeth Coss

Derrick Jefferson

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

Review 1:

Review of Patrick J. Smith in Opera

Of three revivals at the Met, the first, "Der Rosenkavalier," which I saw on January 3, achieved a generally high level of accomplishment as regards staging, mechanics and singing (no small achievement for this complex opera!), climaxing in a memorably seamless trio and duet. If Erich Leinsdorf's conducting did not explore the warmth and plasticity of phrasing inherent in the music, it was nonetheless briskly efficient and, at times, evocative.

The lack of final impact lay less in the singing than in the acting, specifically that of the two principal female roles. Anna Tomowa-Sintow's soprano has lost some of its bloom, but remains a most pleasing instrument; yet her Marschallin moved through her scenes like a disembodied wraith. Her non-interest in diction robbed all of her great set-pieces of their power and poignancy, and her general attitude of superciliousness left hollowness at the core of the opera. Agnes Baltsa possesses a lovely mezzo, but Octavian strikes me as temperamentally the wrong part for her. Her gamine flightiness - not really that of a young man but of some androgynous street urchin - was at odds both with the nobility of the character and with its coltish masculinity: an aimless flutter replaced assurance. Judith Blegen's Sophie is well thought-out and, again, radiant of voice, but its porcelain-doll fragility sacrifices the femininity that must suffuse the role.

In this ensemble, the Ochs of Aage Haugland stood out, and dramatically tipped the balance of the opera. His is a youthful, vivid conception, closer perhaps to what Hofmannsthal and Strauss originally envisioned when the opera took its title from his name, but one which, despite its gaucherie, is winning and positive. When the Marschallin dubbed him an "aufgeblasene schlechte Kerl," the comment reflected not upon him, but upon her. She seemed an affected product of a dying upper class not to appreciate the humanity - however coarsely rendered - of his nature. Indeed, Haugland's pervasive, joyous embracing of life and its vicissitudes so lit up the precincts of Vienna that, by its earthy light he transformed the rest into the attitudes of figurines in a Nyniphenburg shop window.

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