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Der Rosenkavalier at the Royal Opera

I was super excited to see Der Rosenkavalier at Royal Opera with Renée Fleming in one of her finest roles as Marschallin. And it didn't disappoint. The super energetic Andris Nelsons plough into the opening bars with such intense energy so to make the post coital scene at the opening so tender. Alice Coote's interpretation of Octavian had that adolescent quality that somehow worked (though at times it bordered on tomboy-ish). Matthew Rose was a gigantic Ochs on stage - his less sophisticated Viennese German (as intended by von Hofmannsthal) sometimes got lost as the tempo quickened. Sophie Bevan, as Sophie (!) was on fine form and sang with a beautiful innocent sheen.

Andris Nelsons lured the entire audience into the climax of the opera - you could hear a pin drop - when Fleming started ‘Hab mir’s gelobt’ - the pacing, the effortlessness, the meaning and the beauty of her voice. The others joined in with intense intertwining and soaring lines - oh my it was to die for!

The production and set design worked most of the time. The farce in the last act was sufficiently farcical, except the very end with the return of those arm dealers (von Faninal was a arms dealing family in the opera).

There was a very good rapport between Andris Nelsons and the orchestra. While there were the occasional slips in the strings section, it was more a case of the players taking risks and going with the Nelsons' tempi so to deliver a super performance.


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