Richard Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier / Te Kanawa, Howells, Haugland, Bonney, Solti, Schlesinger (The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden)
Richard Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier / Te Kanawa, Howells, Haugland, Bonney, Solti, Schlesinger (The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden)

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Product Description

Studio: Kultur Release Date: 01/13/2004

This Rosenkavalier is a nearly perfect combination of music, singers, staging, and conducting. It examines the whole spectrum of love from every perspective: youthful idealism, consenting adultery, predatory lechery, and autumnal regrets. Richard Strauss's music is exquisite; the emotional climate includes tenderness, sophistication, and sentimentality, with a healthy dose of near-slapstick. This is a treatment to live with on a desert island.

Kiri Te Kanawa garners most of the acclaim in what is probably her best role, but the entire cast is superbly chosen and works together in fine-tuned ensemble--not only the impulsive Octavian of Anne Howells, Barbara Bonney's sweet, timid Sophie, and Aage Haugland's, boorish, pretentious Baron Ochs, but everyone, including servants, domestic spies, and the social-climbing Herr Faninal. The sets and costumes are sumptuous; the sound and video images well defined. Georg Solti conducts with a subtlety and lyric lilt not always found in his work. --Joe McLellan

Customer Reviews:

  • Awesome
    Fantastic singing from all of the cast; they are first-rate. Te Kanawa OWNS the Marschallin character, and Howells is good as Octavian. Barbara Bonney is a spectacular Sophie, and Haugland is perfect as Ochs. My only caution is that the audio quality is not fabulous--you can hear the prompter when you listen with headphones. ...more info
  • Breathtakingly Beautiful
    (sung in German, with subtitles in English, French, German, Spanish, and Japanese)

    Der Rosenkavalier (the Cavalier of the Rose) can entertain you on various levels.

    There is the heavenly, ethereal music which is almost too beautiful. There's a delightful sense of humor with surprises for nearly all of the main characters.

    There's plenty of romance, with the scene of "the presentation of the rose" as one of the best examples of capturing the very moment of love-at-first-sight.

    As if all the great entertainment were not enough, Richard Strauss has given us a moral lesson: While the Field Marshall's wife has justifiable contempt for her cousin, the lecherous Baron, she realizes that she has been little better as she has used her imperial position to take advantage of more than one young officer. She sees herself in the mirror, and decides to start doing the right (loving) thing--she gives up her current lover so that he can be happy. She finally loves him enough (a sort of motherly love?) to let go of him.

    Der Rosenkavalier is basically a love story, with some "growing up" by several of the characters. The music is so beautiful, it's almost unearthly at times.

    Georg Solti conducts the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, and Kiri te Kanawa sings the role she has made her own--the Marschallin.

    You may well gasp in amazement (tears come to my eyes) that such beautiful music has been written. Staging and costumes are splendid also.....more info

  • Delightful
    I thoroughly enjoyed this performance. Both the singing and the acting were superb. I really cannot imagine that Te Kanawa's Marschallin can be bettered and Anne Howell's Oktavian was an eye-opener for me. If you want a moving and well acted performance you can't do better than this one....more info
  • Traditional Presentation
    Since this was to be my first DVD Rosenkavalier, I opted for a traditional production which I knew this to be as I had seen it before. Negative things first: Solti (with exceptions)has become one conductor whose reputation has sagged with his death and all his much vaunted energy that he brings to the score do do it any favors--they don't call him the screaming scull for nothing. There are many moments when a sense of r epose is called for and this simply is not in his vocabulary--at least as often as it should be. TeKanawa has an ideal voice for this music, not to mention the physical beauty. It has been reported that she has felt somehwat lacking in her knowledge of German and truth be told the text is not as inflected as I would have wished; it is also ironic that she has recorded both for CD and DVD Capriccio a text driven work if ever there was one. I do not agree with David Hamilton in the Met Guide to Videos who makes needlessly snide remarks about her appearance (resembling Carol Channing) and that she lacks focus and a knowledge of the text to make the third act what it should be. The voice is lovely and Te Kanawais clearly a stimme diva. Having said that it must be admmitted that the tears she shed at the end of the first act would belie the statement that her knowledge of the text was inadequate. Barbara Bonney along with Helen Donath have owned the role of Sophie and with good reason. Bonney is lovely, sings beautifully. Anne Howells is a British mezzo whose work is unknown to me. The camera is cruel in her case, making her look older than the Marschallin. Vocally (if we must have a mezzo and apparently no soprano since Jurinac as undertaken the role) she is a lyric mezzo and sings well and acts with an appropriate amount of swagger and boyishness. Haugland is a boorish Ochs, again well sung and acted. If only the conductor had been a Kempe or well, you fill in your favorite Strauss conductor....more info
  • Te Kanawa is a goddess !
    Kiri Te Kanawa thrilled and delighted me with her singing, and made me weep with her sensitivity as an actress...she's also an exquisitely graceful and beautiful woman, making this aesthetically in every way a perfect performance, and a treasure for any opera lover. The last few moments of act one (the end of tape # 1), are incredibly moving, and will stay with me forever.

    Anne Howells is also superb as Octavian. Her body language as a young man is flawless and vocally she's excellent as well. Every member of this cast shines, held together with mastery by the wonderful Georg Solti.

    The sets and costumes of this Covent Garden production are spectacular (the Marschallin's dress in the last act is breathtaking !), the direction flows, the editing expert, the comedy good, the drama great.

    The scene between the Marschallin, Octavian, and Sophie is mesmerizing. The beauty and emotional power of it overwhelmed me, and once again, I was moved to tears.

    This is simply one of the best filmed operas in existence...nothing short of magnificent, a rare jewel....more info

  • Dame Kiri's magical Marschallin
    I agree with the above reviews. I have heard this opera (and excerpts from it) on disc many times with varying degrees of enjoyment, but I had held back from buying the video. I finally bought it and watched it for the first time last night. I was riveted and watched it right through without a break. By the end of the first act I was, most unexpectedly, in tears. Kiri te Kanewa's performance as the Marschallin perfectly expressed the dignity, vulnerability and resignation of the character. The supporting performances were almost as good, with Barbara Bonney especially fine as Sophie. The costumes were lavish, as were the sets. The final act trio and duet were flawlessly and emotionally sung; but it was Kiri's rendition of the Marschallin's monologue that will haunt me for days to come. I urge any lover of Strauss's music to buy this video, sit back with a box of tissues and lose yourself in a magical performance of this wonderful opera....more info
  • Beautifully acted, sung performance
    Der Rosenkavalier remains one of the most popular operas, despite being extremely long (all stage productions cut to some degree, and even then it's 3 hours or more of music) and a storyline that upon examination is a trifle thin. Strauss's opera also places exceptional demands upon the singers -- they must sing beautifully, act the part, and convey both humor and feeling. This 1985 performance from Covent Garden succeeds on all requirements: the cast is uniformly strong, the production is beautiful and elegant, and I shed a tear or two at the final trio.
    Anne Howells is the Oktavian, a 17-year old count in love involved in a May-December affair with the Feldmarschallin. Howells is perhaps the least well-known of all the principals in this video, but Oktavian is onstage for practically the entire opera, and I think Howells is superb. I love the gusto with which he/she challenges the lecherous Ochs in Act 2, and her game turn as a "chambermaid" in Act 3. The only drawback I'd mention is that her voice is a bit thin and reedy, and lacks that last touch of vocal glamour. But if her voice is not as silvery and bright as the most legendary Oktavians (Sena Jurinac for example) Howells still convinces as an ardent young man. As the naive Sophie, Barbara Bonney is near-perfect. She looks girlish and young, and has the kind of bright lyric soprano that works so well for this role. She also avoids overly cute, precious acting. I love her reactions to the Baron when she first meets him.
    Kiri te Kanawa is of course the Feldmarschallin, and hers was the real surprise of the video. I expected beautiful, elegant singing, but te Kanawa's portrayal was also dignified and heartfelt. At the end of Act 1 she buries her face in some flowers and whens he looks up there are real tears streaming down her face, and all of a sudden my preconceptions about te Kanawa were wiped away. Aage Haugland is hilarious as the dirty old "dowry hunter" Ochs, and he also wisely does not make Ochs truly hateful. He's not supposed to be -- in the end, his story is as sad as the Marschallin's. His screaming at being "wounded" in Act 2 and also his "wooing" of Sophie are priceless.
    The two drawbacks: Georg Solti conducts with his typical bluster, all blaring horns and IMO little sense of the quick, breezy Viennese waltzes that permeate Strauss's score. Kultur's documentation is also poor -- it doesnt even say who the Italian singer is....more info
  • Most emotionally satisfying of 4 Rosenkavalier videos I own
    Despite hard-to-read subtitles, this performance is the best-acted, best-sung, best-staged version of the four I own, including my great favorite, the 1961 film, which I saw as a teenager....more info
  • A superb Der Rosenkavalier
    Several times during this Rosenkavalier I was brought to tears by the sheer beatuy of the cast and production. Just gorgeous!...more info
  • Caveat
    I agree with all the reviews. However, many of the sub-texts are difficult to read due to a white-on-white reduced ability to read them....more info
  • Kiri and Friends Shine in the Marvelous Production
    Der Rosenkavalier by itself is a magnificent opera, but when you combine it with Dame Kiri te Kananwa and Sir Georg Solti, you have pure magic. I received this opera as a Valentine's Day gift, and instantly fell in love. Kiri captures the essence of the Marschallin with such poise and elegance. I challenge any viewer to resist weeping during the famous Act III trio. Any lover of opera will cherish this video, and anyone interested in learning more about opera could not choose a more exhilerating place to start....more info
  • Superlative
    Perfect casting, and a near perfect performance. Well acted and well sung. The last 20 minutes is as sublime as any musical experience one could want to have....more info
  • Silver Rose blossoms pure in this Rosenkavalier.
    Hard to fault this wonderful, traditional set. No Euro-trash here! Te Kanawa is very moving as she becomes the Marchellin in love with youth and fully aware that the moment's passion will end. Everyone exceeds expectation and Solti, for once, is more gentle in the pit than he is want to be, especially in Wagner and in his wonderful London set of this opera. Strauss and his characters are allowed to be themselves unmarred by interpretative "I can do better than they did...." syndrome. Baron Ochs appears as the foolish, unrefined person he is, but not as a totally vulgar and unsympathetic oaf. Haugland plays Ochs perfectly and sings with lush, opulent tone. As Octavian and Sophie, Howells qnd Bonney sing to the nines, Howells with full, strong, even voice and Bonney with stratospheric clarity and warmth. A very moving performance that belongs on your shelves along with the other royal opera dvd gems; Romeo et Juliette, Boheme, etc....more info
  • superlative
    I have a friend -- a knowledgeable opera buff -- who once mildly embarrassed me when, in a discussion, I turned to him for (brief and conversational) support for my claim that Kiri Te Kanawa is one of the best of the recent (i.e., late 20th century) sopranos. He demurred evasively, saying there are so many sopranos. True enough, but Te Kanawa is good. And should you ever have any doubts about this, look no further than this utterly superlative version of Strauss' great opera. Everything on display here is excellent: the singing, the characteristically rich and luxurious music, Solti's pacing, the visuals: the costuming and sets (Covent Garden is positively extravagantly decked out). But Te Kanawa's Marschallin steals the show (even though her fellow performers outdo themselves and are excellent in their own right). She is stunning, in terms of her acting and in terms of her singing. And she's so easy on the eyes. I have several versions of this opera on DVD but this is the one I turn to almost every time. Even when I just want to hear the opera, when I'm working, this is the one I take off the shelf and play, sans visuals....more info
  • Totally Ravishing!!
    I tend to spend most of my opera viewing time in the Italian and French repertoire, but have always enjoyed the ravishing music of Rosenkavalier in excerpts which include "the presentation of the rose" and the final trio. If more lovely music has ever been penned, I haven't heard it, but listening to all of it was a bit tedious, to tell the truth.

    But seeing it, and thus enjoying it as musical theatre? Not until I got this disc.It converted me completely. This is simply a wonderful experience, which I cannot praise too highly.

    Dame Kiri is definitive as the Marschallin: her vocal production is literally amazing, and , yes, I have heard her sing a lot! She floats some pianissimo tones that bring tears to the eyes! She also acts well: the first act soliloquy, where she ponders on the effects of age is splendid.

    Anne Howells is vocally excellent as Octavian, with acting second only to that of Federica von Stade, who always does well in those "trousers roles"

    Barbara Bonny has the ideal voice for Sophie, and uses it with splendid artistry. Aage Haugland is perfect as the incredibly gross Baron Ochs, and the supporting cast all do very well. Solti conducts definitive Strauss.

    This DVD was made from a taping of a 1985 performance from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, so the audio and video are not quite state of the art. Subtitles make following the German easy.

    But it is the totality of the performance as musical theatre that I found so captivating; this performance just "works" from beginning to end. All of the elements that make up a great operatic performance come together from beginning to end.

    I cannot say enough good things about this disc. The decision to buy it is a "no brainer"!...more info
  • Superb singing-acting
    If you're looking for one video ROSENKAVALIER I bet this is the one. (Unless you're a die-hard Eliz. Schwarzkopf groupie.) It's very unusual to get a cast like this with four born-for-their-parts singing actors and zero weaknesses. ALL the minor actors reward close observation. Valzacchi and Anina are as interesting in their way as the principals. (Valzacchi is played by the British celebrity tenor Robert Tear.) Watch the Italian Singer's pantomime argument with his accompanist and his vocal competition with Ochs. The actual singer (Dennis O'Neal) is not Italian but is a Verdi superstar.

    The late Aage Haugland is the best actor I have ever seen as Ochs (including Kurt Moll and Otto Edelmann). He really gets his character's special blend of vulgarity and innocence across. He can make his eyes twinkle when he smiles, like a giant baby, and put the smile into his voice. Vocally his sub-woofer is a little pinched but his overall bigness and mastery of relaxed bellowing technique more than make up for it. (He was well-known as Hagen and Ivan Khovansky and also played Klingsor.)

    The women are great too. Kiri Te Kanawa's Feldmarschallin is a major MILF and Barbara Bonney is as pert and sexy as a Bond girl. Anne Howells is totally believable as a teenage boy and very earnest. All three have excellent musical intelligence and technique. The differences in voice types enhance the ensembles.

    Solti's conducting is brisk and refreshing. The sets and costumes are traditional and gorgeous. The camerawork is great.

    Der Rosenkavalier was one of the first operas I learned and I've heard it and seen it a fair number of times and this is definitely the most satisfying total Rosenkavalier experience I've had if you discount the special pleasure of being at a live performance.

    ...more info
  • Dame Kiri outdoes herself - again
    I have listened to Rosenkavalier a thousand times and have always been enchanted by the depth of passion in the music and voice. I finally watched Schwarzkopf and Ludwig's performance which thoroughly captured my soul. I thought I would never see or hear anything more beautiful until I saw Dame Kiri's rendition, I cried shamelessly almost from the beginning, I could hardly stand the emotion I felt watching this lovely production. To anyone who is beginning the road toward opera, please start out with this wonderful opera, let it surround and embrace you, let the music and the meaning into your soul, trust me, you will fall in love with this superb opera, then listen to Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sing the Four Last Songs, also by Strauss, you'll be a basket case of emotions, just like me!...more info


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