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Robert Markow
Fanfare, January 2013

STRAUSS, R.: Rosenkavalier (Der) (Opera Australia, 2010) OPOZ56028CD
STRAUSS, R.: Rosenkavalier (Der) (Opera Australia, 2010) (NTSC) OPOZ56026DVD

…Andrew Litton draws consistently elegant, finely wrought and stylish playing from his musicians. He manages to capture all the splendor and joy, irritation, and pettiness as required without ever letting the pace slacken. He has a good feel for the lilt of the Viennese waltz and a knack for delineating transparent textures, a big plus in this enormously busy score. Litton also knows how to build climaxes slowly and steadily. The buildup to Octavian’s entrance in act II is thrilling, and never have I heard the final trio more perfectly paced.

Catherine Carby is a noble Octavian, with a small…voice but well focused, full of nuance, and rich in overtones. Emma Pearson’s Sophie is just a bit rough at the beginning, but once she warms up her voice is truly heavenly, with spot-on intonation. Manfred Hemm’s Ochs…is finely drawn and Hemm brings much carefully considered detail to the role. He is a fine actor to boot, and in case you were wondering, he delivers a good solid low E.

Supporting roles are all well handled, with Warwick Fyfe’s Faninal a standout. Henry Choo is an acceptable Italian singer, Andrew Brunsdon (Valzacchi) and Jacqueline Dark (Annina) highly entertaining schemers.

The DVD is worth having above all for the stage direction of Brian FitzGerald (rehearsed for this performance by Roger Press), who moves his players about fluidly and keeps the eye engaged without overtaxing it. There are innumerable fine touches, such as the knowing smirk from the page boy as he leaves the chocolate in act I, Och’s obvious impatience with the singing of the Italian tenor, or the meaningful glances between Octavian and Sophie in act II. Carl Oberle’s sets are realistic and conventional in concept… © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

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4:36:41 PM, 14 February 2016
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