Superlative Rosenkavalier Featuring Anja Harteros and an Impressive Cast under Kirill Petrenko

GermanyGermany Strauss, Der RosenkavalierBayerisches Staatsorchester, Kirill Petrenko (conductor), National Theatre, Munich, 14.7.2016. (JMI)

Anja Harteros as the Marschallin © W. Hösl

Strauss, Der Rosenkavalier


Direction: Otto Schenk
Sets and Costumes: Jürgen Rose


Octavian: Daniela Sindram
Marschallin: Anja Harteros
Ochs: Günther Groissböck
Sophie: Hanna-Elisabeth Müller
Faninal: Martin Gantner
Singer: Yosep Kang
Valzacchi: Ulrich Ress
Annina: Heike Grötzinger
Marianne: Miranda Keys

 One of the great attractions of this year’s Munich Opera Festival is Der Rosenkavalier, with Kirill Petrenko on the podium and Anja Harteros as the Marschallin. It has been a great success: the musical performance is excellent and Anja Harteros exceptional, the cast is convincing and the stage production beautiful.

This Otto Schenk production was premiered in Munich in 1972, and has been staged here frequently over the years. Two other Schenk productions of Der Rosenkavalier, in Vienna and Dusseldorf, are very similar to this one and still enjoyable as well. Here is what I wrote about it 5 years ago:

 It is worth a trip to Munich just for the presence of Kirill Petrenko in the opera house’s pit. Once again his conducting has been superb, particularly in the last act of the opera where he reached a level available to very few conductors. His tempi were lively, as we expect from him, and the only time that there was too much sound was during Octavian and the Marschallin’s love scene in Act I. From the Monologue of the Marschallin on, his conducting became more controlled and the music was excellent. The Bayerisches Staatsorchester is always splendid, but under Petrenko it is second to none.

Although the title character in the opera is Count Octavian, the most important role is the Marschallin, especially when there is an exceptional interpreter. As she did five years ago, Anja Harteros sang the part. At that time I was impressed by the control she had of the character, even though she had made her debut just a month earlier. I cannot say if she has improved, but I can say is that it is impossible for anyone to sing better than she. She is simply the Marschallin, as if she were giving a lesson in how to sing and play the role. Whether or not perfection exists in this world, Anja Harteros shows that it is a possibility. Her Marschallin is unmatched today, although there are some very good interpreters of the role. What a great singer she is!

Octavian was played by Daniela Sindram, who only lacks a bit more glamour to become a true star in the world of opera. Her performance was faultless.

Günther Groissböck was a remarkable Baron Ochs, both in terms of singing and acting. I recognize that he had to fight with my memories of great Ochs in recent years, Kurt Moll, Kurt Rydl and Peter Rose, who were more mature than Groissböck. He is much younger than what we are used to in the character, more a bass-baritone than a true bass, and he was a little short in the deep notes that close Act II. However, he made a very convincing interpretation, in terms both of singing and acting.

Hanna-Elisabeth Müller was a perfect Sophie, a real treat. This young soprano is one of the great assets of the Munich Opera, and her performances are always excellent.

Martin Gantner was very well-suited to Faninal, a part that he has sung on many occasions and that has no secrets for him.

Tenor Yosep Kang did very nicely on the Italian Singer’s difficult aria.

José M. Irurzun

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