[Met Performance] CID:319550

Der Rosenkavalier
Metropolitan Opera House, Wed, March 1, 1995

Der Rosenkavalier (341)
Richard Strauss | Hugo von Hofmannsthal
Anne Sofie von Otter

Princess von Werdenberg (Marschallin)
Mechthild Gessendorf

Baron Ochs
Franz Hawlata

Heidi Grant Murphy

Gottfried Hornik

Rosalind Elias

Michel Sénéchal

Italian Singer
Stanford Olsen

Susan Neves

Erin Gallop

Princess' Major-domo
Nico Castel

Sandra Bush

Judith Goldberg

Constance Green

Beverly Withers

Animal Vendor
Irwin Reese

Sam Cardea

James Courtney

Ross Crolius

Arthur Apy

David Asch

Donald Peck

Kun Yul Yoo

Faninal's Major-domo
Anthony Laciura

Charles Anthony

Police Commissioner
Stephen West

Suzanne Der Derian

James Levine

Review 1:

Review of Terry Teachout in the Daily News

'Rosenkavalier' Otter-ly Charming

Anne Sofie Von Otter, the Swedish mezzo-soprano whose New York appearances are heartbreakingly rare, gave the first of four performances Wednesday as Octavian in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Richard Strauss' "Der Rosenkavalier." Had she been singing next door at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, von Otter would have been a cinch for a Tony,

Octavian is a "trouser role": a woman playing a man. In this case, the man is an ardent young Viennese count who is having an affair with an older woman, and who, through a series of quintessentially operatic plot twists, finds himself required to impersonate his lover's maid. Not only is the role both vocally and dramatically demanding, it turns deadly serious in the opera's last 15 minutes.

Great Octavians are as rare as painless dentists, and Anne Sofie von Otter is one of the greatest. Her ravishing, technically impeccable singing is as close to perfect as singing gets. It's comic flair that surprises. The spectacle of a 6-foot tall Scandinavian

beauty making faces worthy of Carol Burnett is wondrous to behold. Had Wednesday's performance been average, or even very good, von Otter would have walked away with it. Instead, she was just one part of the most consistently satisfying night at the Met I've had in the last few years.

Mechthild Gessendorf may be too matronly to look the part of the Marchallin, but she sang it exquisitely; Franz Hawlata, making his Met debut as Baron Ochs, was ripe of voice and deliciously overripe in character; Heidi Grant Murphy was fresh and charming as Sophie. Even the cameo roles were tossed off with flair, Rosalind Elias (as Annina) very much in particular. And James Levine conducted with total professionalism, emphasizing the comedy and soft-pedaling the Viennese sentimentality.

In the end, though, this show was mainly about Anne Sofie von Otter. You have three more chances to see her in "Der Rosenkavalier" this afternoon and on March 7 and 10. Don't miss it. She's the best Octavian imaginable - maybe the best ever.

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