Se vuol ballere, signor Contino

Der Rosenkavalier at Seattle Opera

CarolvanessDieter Kaegi's production of Der Rosenkavalier was revived in Seattle last month. I remember seeing posters for the 1997 performances, in which Angelika Kirchschlager sang the role of Octavian. Alice Coote made her Seattle debut in the role this time around, and her voice was strong. She is petite next to Carol Vaness, but had a suitable boyish demeanor. Julianne Gearhart was cloying as Sophie, her voice so bright it was almost as if she was making fun of the role. Peter Rose was hilarious as Baron Ochs, he danced well, but his low notes were muddled. Carol Vaness was surprisingly inoffensive as the Marschallin, though her diction left something to be desired and she didn't have terribly good control, her acting wasn't bad.

The production itself was quite standard, the set was not elaborate but still traditional. The costumes were beautiful, all in fine rococo style. The choreography was overwrought at times. Baron Ochs' footmen got into many antics in the background, piling into the Marschallin's bed during Act I and chasing the help in Act II. Also in Act II, Valzacchi and Annina sneaked into Herr von Faninal's house and pretty much did a dance with vases while Sophie and Octavian proclaim their love for each other. While these foibles had some humor in them, in the end they were distracting and did not go with the music.