Boston Symphony Orchestra
"Rosenkavalier Shimmers at Symphony Hall [...]
Many a moon has passed since Bostonians were last offered the rich feast that is Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. Last night that famine was assuaged in Symphony Hall when Andris Nelsons led the BSO and many starry soloists in an impressively played and sung semi-staged concert performance of this unique operatic confection […]
In one of their last appearances together in these roles, the wonderful Susan Graham as Octavian and Renée Fleming as the Marschallin headlined a cast ran that ran deep and wide. Veteran Franz Hawlata inhabited the challenging role of Baron Ochs, the personification of crass oafishness and uncontrolled lechery. Erin Morley made a shining Sophie, effortlessly soaring above the staff with silvery timbre. More about these in a moment.
The brilliantly focused soprano Irmgard Vilsmaier as Marianne, and tenor Stephen Costello as the elegant Italian Singer, whose dulcet and fervent tone was perfectly attuned to his character stood out in the large supporting cast. Local singers David Kravitz as the Notary and Theo Lobo as the Second Orphan shined in auxiliary roles. As always, Kravitz brought active and believable acting and characterization with his gifted baritone voice, and Lobo’s admirable sable-smooth alto flowed richly and freely.
BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons, whose “cred” in the Richard Strauss opera repertory had been affirmed by his powerful BSO concert performances of Elektrain 2015, and Salome in 2014, took full charge of the proceedings. His was a young man’s interpretation: occasionally rushed, yet often compelling, probing, and wonderfully flexible with well-considered rubati. That the BSO played with virtuoso flair and great sensitivity goes almost without saying, yet it MUST be said—what luxury to hear this brilliant score so completely absorbed and re-offered with such refinement and power by this great orchestra, playing from the stage and not buried in an opera house pit!”