Carol Vaness

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.


Sara Jobin conducted this particular performance of Tosca, and it was her San Francisco Opera debut, and the first time a woman has conducted during the main season of this opera house. The production is one owned by San Francisco Opera, and is revived every two or three years.

Soprano Carol Vaness has the dubious honor of being one of my least favorite singers. She was much more quiet than previously as Floria Tosca and somewhat breathy.

Simon Boccanegra

Simon Boccanegra at San Francisco Opera was excellent. Samuel Ramey (Jacopo Fiesco) and Paolo Gavanelli (Simon Boccanegra) were especially amazing. We got to see Carol Vaness again, who was in Don Giovanni as Donna Elvira and Tosca (as Tosca). She was the sole soprano in the production, and she was, predictably, awful. However, the opera is more focused on the lower voices, the main parts are baritone and bass. All and all it was a wonderful opera, the kind that gives you shivers.