Wednesday, October 14, 2009
photo: Sara Krulwich
A touchstone of the Metropolitan Opera repertoire for over forty years, Nathaniel Merrill's staging of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier returned to the house last night after a five year absence. Conductor Edo de Waart--a last-minute replacement for the injured James Levine--led the orchestra in a brisk, intuitive reading of the score, drawing lush sounds from the string section during sustained passages. The evening featured star soprano Renee Fleming singing one of her signature roles, The Marschallin, at her home company for the first time in over a decade; she looked and sounded splendid, and invested much energy into forming a credible character. Susan Graham's Octavian hit on all cylinders: exceedingly well-sung; appropriately boyish and love-struck. The night's real find, however, was debutante Miah Persson, whose Sophie charmed the audience with beautiful singing and undeniable stage presence. Her voice is perfect for Mozart, and I wouldn't be surprised if, in the next few years, she was singing many of his major heroines (Pamina, Susanna, Fiordiligi) with the company. All in all, a most worthwhile evening for any music lover.