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Sophie’s World

Tiroler Landestheater
11/09/2014 -  & November 15*, 22, 29, December 7, 14, 20, 2014, January 11, 17, 31, February 15, 22, 2015
Richard Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier, opus 59
Allison Oakes*/Susanna von der Burg (Feldmarschallin), Andreas Hoerl*/Johannes Wimmer (Baron Ochs), Lysianne Tremblay*/Valentina Kutzarova (Octavian), Joachim Seipp*/Peter Edelmann (Faninal), Susanne Langbein*/Sophie Mitterhuber (Sophie), Susanne von der Burg*/Susann Hagel (Leitmetzerin), Joshua Lindsay (Valzacchi), Jennifer Maines*/Kristina Cosumano (Annina), Marc Kugel (Polizeikommisar, Notar), Florian Stern (Haushofmeister, Wirt), Paulo Ferreira (Sänger), Michael Gann (Haushofmeister), Ana Paula Queiroz, Saiko Kawano, Claudia Heuel (3 Adelige Waisen), Renate Fankhauser (Modistin), Holger Kapteinat (Tierhändler), Michael Gann, Il-Young Yoon, Tyler Clark, Jannis Dervenis (4 Lakaien), Holger Kapteinant, Krystian Holewik, Stanislav Stambolov, Peter Thorn (4 Kellner), Peter Hohlbrugger, Jung-Kun Jo, Jerzy Kasprzak, Stefan Salvenmoser, Stanislav Stambolov, Peter Thorn (Lerchenaus Diener), Jerzy Kasprzak (Hausknecht) Dieter Lang (Friseur), Jonas Salvador*/Yabsira Meyer (Mohamed)
Chorus of the Tiroler Landestheater, Michel Roberge (Chorus Master), Tiroler Symphonieorchester Innsbruck, Alexander Rumpf (conductor)
Heinz Zednik (director), Michael D. Zimmermann (stage, costumes), Johann Kleinheinz (lights)

(Courtesy of Landestheater Tirol)

“Next time I’ll write a Mozart opera!” Richard Strauss reportedly declared after the premiere of his rather dark and heavy “Elektra” in 1909. What he actually wrote was Der Rosenkavalier, a quintessential Strauss opera set during Mozart’s time. The brilliant libretto is, as is often the case with Hugo von Hofmannsthal, full of subtle and not so subtle humor, sophistication and quite a bit of Viennese ‘Weltschmerz’. The opera was premiered 1911 in Dresden, Germany, with the legendary stage sets and costumes by Alfred Roller.

Michael D. Zimmermann’s set and costume design for the new production of Der Rosenkavalier at the Innsbruck Opera followed entirely in this tradition. Not as refined and detailed as the original sets, Zimmermann offered sort of a “Roller light” version. Rococo costumes in soothing pastel tints and the careful light design by Johann Kleinheinz complemented the perfect canvas for Strauss/Hofmannsthal’s portrait of the 18th century Viennese society.

Tenor Heinz Zednik, Valzacchi par excellence and a veteran of the Viennese State Opera – next year he celebrates the 50th anniversary of his Vienna debut – has worked during his singing career on Der Rosenkavalier with the best stage directors of our times. Slowly retiring from the opera stage as a singer he dedicates more and more of his time to staging operas. In his concept for the Innsbruck Rosenkavalier he drew heavily on Otto Schenk’s unsurpassed Viennese Rosenkavalier and his rich fund of brilliantly humorous ideas. As a singer/performer of character roles Zednik is unparalleled. As a stage director, however, he wasn’t always able to work out the intricacies of the Strauss/Hofmannsthal sense of humor. Too often the singers were not able to walk the fine line between subtle humor and crude jokes.

This was most apparent in Andreas Hoerl’s Ochs. His refined bass voice couldn’t gloss over the fact that he showed little feeling for the subtleties of the Viennese humor. The tragic aspects of Baron Ochs were completely lost. Allison Oakes’ Feldmarschallin was solid but failed to touch. Lysianne Tremblay’s cultured, warm mezzosoprano as Octavian was often not able to carry over the orchestra. Paulo Ferreira as “Singer” stood out from the altogether solid ensemble.

While writing on the opera Hofmannsthal and Strauss couldn’t decide on a title. Strauss largely preferred titles like “Ochs auf Lerchenau” or “The Cousin from the Countryside”, making Ochs the pivotal character of the opera. In the end, Hofmannsthal’s decision to make Octavian the main character prevailed and the opera was called Der Rosenkavalier. The 2014 Innsbruck staging might have easily been called “Sophies World”: Susanne Langbein as Sophie was a real revelation. Not only does she possess a beautiful, effortless soprano – with her striking stage presence she was able to touch the audience’s hearts.

The Tyrolian Symphony Orchestra, under the experienced conductor Alexander Rumpf, played respectably, although slightly lacking the particular Viennese charm.

Immediately preceding this 2nd performance of the new Innsbruck staging of Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, theater director Johannes Reitmeier came on stage and insistently called for solidarity with the Rome Opera which has been scandalously shut down. The writers of ConcertoNet would like to join Reitmeier in his appeal: Please do support your local theaters, opera houses and orchestras. Classical music is an important part of our cultural heritage – and it is fun. If you are in the Innsbruck area and want to spend a fun evening: do watch a performance of Der Rosenkavalier – it will be on the program well into the 2015 season.

Landestheater Tirol

Wiebke Kuester



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