Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier8:00, 22nd February 2018
Renée Fleming, Erin Morley (sop), Elīna Garanča (mez), Günther Groissböck (bas); Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Chorus/Sebastian Weigle
Decca 0743944 – 2 DVDs
Renée Fleming and Elīna Garanča bade farewell to their signature roles of the Marschallin and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier with a final performance at the Met in May last year. Robert Carsen’s pre-first world war setting provides an apt and glamorous backdrop for the love, loss and mayhem looked down upon disapprovingly by ancestral portraits, a world soon to end in the onslaught of war. Carsen makes his point well – Faninal has made his money selling armaments and will presumably be the only person to survive ten years later, even richer and more vulgar. The rest will crumble and fade. He draws outstanding performances from his experienced cast. Fleming defies the years and is on best vocal behaviour. She oozes glamour, and has one eye on the past but one on the future: once she’s over her self-absorption she rallies and finally departs with the Police Commissioner. Her soprano still possesses the most alluring shimmer. Garanča is equally superlative, her tone rich and supple, her acting astonishingly good, the most convincing youth imaginable. Günther Groissböck’s Ochs is unusually youthful and attractive, and his bass never growls but remains clean-toned. Erin Morley spins sumptuous lines and looks adorable as a spirited Sophie. Sebastian Weigle’s conducting supports his extraordinarily good cast and orchestra with a loving hand.