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Le Chevalier A La Rose
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Legendary Performances. Peter Pabst - Questo DVD Video presenta una delle produzioni più chiacchierate delle ultime edizioni del Festival di Salisburgo, vale a dire l’allestimento del Cavaliere della rosa di Richard Strauss andato in scena nel 2004. Sebbene la famosa commedia musicale del grande compositore di Monaco possa vantare una lunga e gloriosa tradizione al Festival di Salisburgo, la nuova produzione curata dal regista Robert Carsen spalancò a quest’opera prospettive completamente nuove, con il direttore russo Semyon Bychkov alla testa di Wiener Philharmoniker in forma smagliante e di un cast di cantanti di livello internazionale in grado di garantire un altissimo livello qualitativo. Semyon Bychkov dirige Il cavaliere della rosa con incontenibile energia e prestando una grande attenzione a esprimere anche le più piccole nuances della partitura, un approccio che ha spinto il critico del Neue Zürcher Zeitung a sottolineare in termini estremamente positivi la sua capacità di «rendere trasparente la densa struttura di quest’opera e di gettare luce sugli innumerevoli preziosismi della scrittura straussiana». L’aspetto musicale di questa rappresentazione ha potuto valersi anche della lunga esperienza e della consolidata tradizione dei Wiener Philharmoniker, che – secondo il critico del Münchner Merkur – sarebbe l’unica «orchestra del mondo in grado di esaltare adeguatamente questi eccessi decadenti e la meravigliosa dolcezza di questi valzer». Carsen ha concepito questo allestimento in maniera molto coerente, delineando i tre atti e distribuendo le oltre 200 persone sul palcoscenico con consumata sapienza. Le ampie dimensioni del Grosses Festspielhaus gli hanno consentito di mantenere l’azione principale al centro del palcoscenico, riservando le altre zone ai commenti. --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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As far as the performances go, this is something of a mixed bag. All the main roles are gorgeously sung, but only a couple of the interpretations actually land. Adrianne Pieczonka is a first class singer and a lovely woman (although here unflatteringly costumed), but her acting lacks the depth and contradictions that would make her a first-class Marschallin. We get no sense of the struggle within, the lust combating her sense of responsibility and religious faith, the insecurity at odds with her resignation and wisdom. Angelika Kirschschlager's sound is as rich and mellow as ever, but she overdoes the butch thing to the point that she ends up looking like Charlize Theron in "Monster." Only Miah Persson's charming, vulnerable Sophie and Franz Hawlata's comically smarmy Ochs are fully rounded characterizations, as solid as those that you'll find on other DVDs.
I wouldn't recommend buying Carsen's "Der Rosenkavalier" when there are so many more faithful, brilliantly performed versions out there; if you can rent it, rent it. You may find it shocking, you may find it boring, you may even find it entertaining. What you won't find is illumination. And if a director's reinterpretation of an opera doesn't in some way illuminate it in new and exciting ways, why bother?
The cast is terrific. Adrianne Pieczonka, as Princess Werdenberg, has a rich, clear voice that brims with pathos and longing (she gave me goosebumps at the end of Act I). Just about the whole cast soars. Even the Singer receives sustained applause. This "Rosenkavalier" doesn't quite rise to the sublime heights of Karajan's (on Sony), which contains the best duet between Octavian and Sophie you're likely to hear. Miah Persson, no matter how good she is as Sophie in this Bychkov production, simply doesn't match what Herbert von Karajan was able to squeeze out of Janet Perry, whose singing during the duet becomes ethereal (she goes so high, she's almost inaudible at one point).
In any case, despite the racy, adult-oriented staging (with full frontal nudity, simulated sex, and cross dressing), musically this one from the Salzburger Festspiele 2004 deserves five stars. There is some gorgeous playing from the orchestra. The ubiquitous Brian Large does a solid job directing it for TV. I recommend it as an excellent addition to (though not a replacement for) Karajan's, Solti's, and two from Kleiber. There is now a wealth of worthy Rosenkavaliers on DVD. But Karajan's is king. Enjoy!
Musically, this is a good 'Rosenkavalier.' Semyon Bychkov leads an energetic, skillful performance. The Vienna Philharmonic is absolutely world-class in this complex score -- which surely they have played more than any other opera orchestra in the world. Only rarely are the singers' voices covered by the orchestra. Bychkov catches the echt-Viennese waltz rhythms perfectly in that string of waltzes that surely account for much of this opera's popularity.
The three leading female singers are excellent and well-matched. Adrianne Pieczonka is a noble yet intense Feldmarschallin. Her Act I monolog is moving, and beautifully sung. Angelika Kirchschlager's Octavian is suitably impetuous and passionate. She is particularly effective in the Act II presentation of the rose scene. And in her Mariandel impersonation, she gulls the Baron with comic style. Miah Persson, a beautiful woman (who looks a lot like Renée Fleming), manages the treacherous tessitura of the part of Sophie with grace and delicacy, yet she is not a chocolate box figure; she has spunk and fire. In both the Presentation of the Rose and the final Trio and Duet her high notes are pure and ethereally beautiful.
Franz Hawlata's Baron is only moderately good. His bass voice is not sonorous enough for the part, especially in its lower reaches. But he acts the part without resorting to hammy stereotypes and he even imparts some humanity to the role. Franz Grundheber makes the most of his Faninal but the voice sounds a bit worn at times. The minor roles are reasonably well-taken, and one must make special mention of the Police Commissar, sung by Florian Boesch. The cameo appearance of the Italian Singer, in the levee scene, is sung by tenor Piotr Beczala with both good voice and style and more than a touch of humor.
Sets are excellent, stage movement is relatively minimal. Particularly impressive is the huge banquet table in Act II and Carsen's choreography of the hordes of servants who attend the Faninal establishment.
There are numerous Rosenkavaliers on DVD. For me the best of the lot is still the Carlos Kleiber/Vienna/Lott/Bonney/Von Otter DVD from 1994.
I don't remember much of the singers except that they ranged from uncomfortable looking (Angelika Kirchschlager) to superficial (Adrienne Piczonka) to boorish (Franz Hawlata). Miah Persson looked voluptuous but lacked the silvery float of the best Sophies. The conducting was on the romantic and somewhat sentimental side. The one "Rosenkavalier" I turn to is Carlos Kleiber's 1979 Munich version. I bought this particular version as a complement to the older version; it wasn't even close. The extra start is for the singers' valiant efforts which pretty much went for naught.