Friday, November 29, 2013

Photography: Portraiture & Opera.

©2011 Am Ang Zhang

Nathaniel Merrill’s 1969 production of Strauss’s “Rosenkavalier” is the oldest in the Metropolitan Opera’s repertory. Its opulent Rococo sets, furnished with loving historical details, have played home to singers including Christa Ludwig, Tatiana Troyanos and Luciano Pavarotti. And yet Friday evening’s season premiere with a wonderful cast — many singing these roles for the first time at the Met — felt utterly fresh. Witty, elegant and profoundly moving, the production continues to be an excellent vehicle for Strauss’s reflection on the impermanence of the human existence and love’s power to nevertheless make us believe in eternity.

The production was full of small details that shone with the care and attention that had evidently been lavished on them. From the hilarious performance of James Courtney as a Notary to Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke’s set piece as Valzacchi that had both the ringing high notes and the stilted preening necessary. Ysai Huebner was charming as Mohammed, the Marschallin’s servant, his mute gestures finely coordinated with the music.

The revival marks the 100th anniversary of this opera’s first Met performance. The dramatic coherence and artistic integrity made it feel new.
The New York Times

Richard Strauss:  Der Rosenkavalier

Strauss’s magnificent score, likewise, works on several levels, combining the refinement of Mozart with the epic grandeur of Wagner. The result is a unique achievement: a grand opera that is as vast and complex as it is humane and charming.

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