wed 25/04/2018

Der Rosenkavalier, Glyndebourne | reviews, news & interviews

Der Rosenkavalier, Glyndebourne

Der Rosenkavalier, Glyndebourne

Richard Jones finds new order in Strauss and Hofmannsthal's rococo comedy for music


'What women are made of by men is a crucial theme of the opera' followed by 'porky little Cupid' Do you see no irony in this? Inappropriate, unnecessary. Please look up bodyshaming and sexism...then you might think about an apology. Every day I read older opera-goers complaining that singers are cast for their looks and not their voices--is it any wonder with 'criticism' like this?

Do you really think that was supposed to be an insult? I didn't think for a moment it was - I loved the characterisation, I adored Erraught as a personality. And I thought I was assessing a boy, not a girl, and that the approach was exactly what Jones must have intended (you might be offended by "funny, loveable mug" too, which I assumed was intentional). If Erraught took it amiss, I do apologise since offending her was the last thing on my mind. I think 'porky', so casually added, was perhaps a step too far so I'm removing that. Perhaps I'm just a (deeply) unconscious sexist and Dr Freud needs to be at the end of my particular couch.

Does calling Woldt's Ochs "Bunterish" redress the balance, or just make things worse in terms of body-image matters? I personally always prefer a porky Ochs, and Sophie ought to be "skinny as a chicken", as he so chauvinistically puts it.

"Unconscious sexism"? Wouldn't that be to ignore a performers' appearance rather than describe it? Especially as the dramatic point you so accurately nail is the perception of women by men. Which, although perhaps unconsciously again, begs the question of the perception of men by women, and of women by themselves... If singers are not preferred for their voices first, so much the worse for opera, but from what I read there are still plenty of productions maintaining vocal quality standards!

Not sure I've entirely extracted your meaning, Howard. But in the meantime, all I want to concur with is part of a message from a singer who writes about the phenomenally talented Tara Erraught thus:

'Can she sing Octavian? By heavens - YES.
'Can she act Octavian in the realms and strictness of this production? By heavens YES.
'Is she phenomenal for a 27 year old singer of any voice type? By heavens YES. '
So that's yes, yes and yes, and I certainly didn't gainsay any of that in the review.

I'll only add here that NIce's blogpost and this review were so enticing as to make it a mandate for me to look for and get a chance to hear Ms. Erraught as Octavian. From the blogpost: "Every year there's a revelation among the singers. Tara Erraught, Glyndebourne's Octavian, stood out in 2011." And here, "What a funny, lovable mug, too. She/he is utterly convincing when lovestruck at first sight by a spirited virgin in Act Two."

Is not Mr Nice's review not one of the most intelligent reviews ever written on this Opera. Focusing on the production but with subtle references to earlier productions. A pastiche piece when written . It evokes an idealistic period of mid eighteenth Vienna . With subtle references to Chrisoph Wolf's German Enlightment. Any reading of feminism, let alone post modern feminism. Is entirely in valid in discussing this work. Hoffantstall's. liberato skillfully evokes the position of women in the mid eighteenth century, arranged marriages, the social standing of the Marschallin . The question to be asked is it the role of the director to try and make the opera as if t was his own creation. Or to attempt to make it relivant to our times. My view is play the opera as intendented and let intelligent audiences enjoy, listen and interpret the work for themselves. The audience members may enjoy imposing their own view on the opera. This not the role of the director. We have left the period of East German conceptual production tyranny.

I'm sick to death of director after director ruining operas with their so called interpretations and as you say trying to make it their own creation . Do these egotists think they are better then the librettist and composer ?

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