Selected Articles
June 10, 2005
LA WEEKLY
Alan Rich
The Rosenkavalier indeed, is one of the company’s great triumphs
... a visual rewrite of a work so encrusted in a much-observed tradition that you’d think the slightest new move might upset the balance. But no, from the opening in a bedroom furnished not in period fustian but in bare walls magically drenched in Alan Burrett’s saturated lighting, to the glorious overstatement of the look of the Baron himself, who seems costumed in neon, to the Marschallin’s final entrance, when the flush of her face seems to have drained into the unsexed blue of her gown, this is a story told in color and transformed — by the design genius of Gottfried Helnwein — into a Rosenkavalier freshly renewed.
The singing is every note as glorious as this enlightened production deserves: the clear yet melting sensibility of Adrianne Pieczonka’s Marschallin; the sturdy, unaffected Octavian of Alice Coote; the airborne shimmer of Elizabeth Futral’s Sophie — together in that final trio, which still floats in my ear like enchanted quicksilver.
One further touch speaks for the evening’s high inventive level. Accompanying all three of the (admittedly long) act preludes are projected scenes from the 1926 silent film of Der Rosenkavalier, which was directed by Robert Wiene (of Caligari fame), and which now actually go very well with the noisy, trivial music. I’d love to see the film; both Strauss and his librettist, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, insisted that it contain no action from the opera itself, and the cast did include the Marschallin’s husband (as the opera did not). We also get to see the young Octavian (played by the renowned Jacque Catelain) riding his horse to battle. Talk about filmic license! (Sudden flash: Could that misleading same-sex clinch on the Opera program book be a still from the film? I’ll bet!)
Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss
2005, with Maximilian Schell, Los Angeles Opera




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