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The orchestra was too loud in Der Rosenkavalier at the Royal Opera

This has to be one of my favourite operas, and definitely the favourite Strauss opera. So I was much looking forward to seeing the first night of the revival yesterday. The overture was sounding symphonic which got me worried as it was supposed to be a relatively tender opening to the first act. The in-bed duet between Octavian (Sophie Koch) and Marschallin (Soile Isokoski) was drowned out by the orchestra. The only exception was when the score only called for a handful of instruments accompanying the voices. Baron Ochs was sung by Peter Rose who had a good mid register but lacking umph in the bottom notes. The second act got off to a good start - the duet between Sophie (Lucy Crowe) and Octavian was very good and totally believable. All the singers looked and acted splendidly on the set by William Dudley.

The prelude to the third was bombastic. The farce in the first half
was nicely played out and fun to watch. The trio had a tender start -
Isokoski's pianissimo was outstanding, joined by the beautiful voices
of Koch and Crowe. Though slowly but surely, the singers were drowned
by the orchestra towards the end.


I peeped into the pit to find out what's going on - the conductor
Kirill Petrenko was giving very big leads to the orchestra with huge
gestures all the time: of course the orchestra would respond in kind. Clearly there was
insufficient attempt to balance the sound between stage and pit. One
advice for him: sit in the back of Stalls and have a listen - if you
can't hear the singers, the orchestra is too loud.


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