News Column

Review: Prom 6: Der Rosenkavalier Royal Albert Hall, London 24/40

July 24, 2014

Martin Kettle



In May, reviews of Glyndebourne's new production of Der Rosenkavalier triggered a media storm about sexism. But the reviews also discerned a musical coolness in the production. Now, two months later, in this semi-staged rendering for Glyndebourne's annual Prom visit, many of those reservations can be set aside.

That may be because Richard Jones's iconoclastic production had to be severely scaled back for the Albert Hall. But the principal reason is musical. Robin Ticciati conducted with a sure feel for the ebb and flow of Strauss's score, and with the London Philharmonic rearranged in front of the staging, orchestral colours were vividly pointed. The offstage band at the start of act three, often muddily distant in the theatre, has rarely sounded so interesting.

It didn't hurt, either, that illness to two key principals meant that Franz Hawlata, no less, stepped in to sing Baron Ochs and Louise Alder to sing Sophie. Arguably the leading exponent of the role in the world at the moment, Hawlata brought hugely assured vocal presence and a practised feel for this opera's all-important text to the performance. And if Alder did not impose herself to the same degree, her bright and well-supported soprano was a constant reward.

One of the benefits of a concert performance - with the lights up - is the chance to follow Hugo von Hofmannstahl's text closely. Kate Royal's Marschallin was a revelation in this and other respects. Over the Glyndebourne run, she has grown into the great role, delivering the Marschallin's idiomatic German with a fresh, creamy tone and a Straussian poise that mark this as a signature role for her career. The wry final-act confession of prejudice against men was a moment to treasure.

Like Royal, Tara Erraught has also grown increasingly confident as Octavian and, if it is not her fault that the Mariandel scenes overstay their welcome, she more than compensated by producing the necessary Octavian ardour in the set pieces and impressive vocal command in ensembles.

Extraordinary that this was the first complete Rosenkavalier at the Proms. On this evidence, it works a treat in the Albert Hall.

Martin Kettle



For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel



Source: Guardian (UK)


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters