Der Rosenkavalier

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Renée Fleming may indeed be leaving operatic roles forever… or maybe not. Her “swansong” in “Der Rosenkavalier” at a Gala Met performance gave her and all her colleagues in their various roles ample opportunity to show their medals. And well they did.

As the Marschallin, Renée was stunning and in dramatic voice. Mezzo Soprano Elīna Garanča played first her lover, then her maid, next a courtier with the elegant Silver Rose, and finally a temptress in a brothel with total ease of both voice and manner… not an easy task.

Then, of course, there was Baron Ochs, the consummate oaf, whose physical strength and style was more threatening than comical, giving him a leering verismo throughout.

This is a l-o-n-g opera of three acts, some of which could have been cut by Strauss; still the quality of the acting, singing, sets and stage play kept one amused throughout. (After all, this was 18th Century Vienna; no “sound bites” here.)

There are moments of hilarity, some emotionally charged and then there is once again, exquisitely glamorous Renée singing the final poignant trio with both Octavian and Sophie.

It is hard to imagine we won’t be seeing her often in such melodic roles. Renée is the opera ideal… beautiful in voice and stature and a pleasure to know. She just has to be with us in some shape or form for the future!

Barbara Tober

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