Video/movie versions of Rosenkavalier

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ChrisBrewster
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Video/movie versions of Rosenkavalier

Post by ChrisBrewster » Fri Dec 03, 2010 10:11 pm

We watched a broadcast of Rosenkavalier with Renee Fleming, from early this year. We wanted to get a video version, preferably with Fleming but not using updated settings. It appears that no version meets that description. (For me, the setting needs to be compatible with the story in the sense that the story as written could *possibly* occur in that setting, which wouldn't apply to this story set in, say, the mid-20th century.) I read lots of reviews-- should have asked here too-- and finally got the old Schwarzkopf one. (That one is what I think of as the All Nazi Production.) Will probably get a newer version sometime too. Would like to know the favorite versions of people here, and why.

scytheavatar
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Re: Video/movie versions of Rosenkavalier

Post by scytheavatar » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:21 am

http://www.amazon.com/Richard-Strauss-R ... 056&sr=8-2

http://www.amazon.com/Strauss-Rosenkava ... cp_d_2_img

http://www.amazon.com/Richard-Strauss-R ... gy_d_img_b

All 3 of these are great. I personally will recommend you to go for the 1979 Munich Kleiber as I am a big fan of Brigitte Fassbaender (who doesn't just sing well but also acts extremely well), but for better video quality the other 2 are very fine choices.

John F
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Re: Video/movie versions of Rosenkavalier

Post by John F » Sat Dec 04, 2010 4:49 am

The most glamourous "Rosenkavalier" on film is the 1962 version made at the Salzburg Festival on the occasion of the opening of the Grosses Festspielhaus, the one you already have. Herbert von Karajan conducts, the Vienna Philharmonic are in the pit, and the principals are Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Sena Jurinac, Anneliese Rothenberger, and Otto Edelmann, with Erich Kunz in the minor but crucial role of Faninal.

All but Rothenberger's Sophie were the classic portrayals of their roles for a decade and more in Vienna, they identify with their characters to an extraordinary degree (Edelmann with his authentic Viennese accent). And what playing from the Philharmonic at one of its peaks! With Mr. Vienna holding the stick, it doesn't get more authentic than this.

This actually was shot on film, with a prerecorded soundtrack to which the singers lip-sync, so it is not the snapshot of actuality that the other videos provide. But this also means that there are no incidental fluffs or insecurities; it's as near perfection as can be.
Last edited by John F on Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
John Francis

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Re: Video/movie versions of Rosenkavalier

Post by maestrob » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:27 am

John F wrote:The most glamourous "Rosenkavalier" on film is the 1962 version made at the Salzburg Festival on the occasion of the opening of the Grosses Festspielhaus. Herbert von Karajan conducts, the Vienna Philharmonic are in the pit, and the principals are Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Sena Jurinac, Anneliese Rothenberger, and Otto Edelmann, with Erich Kunz in the minor but crucial role of Faninal.

All but Rothenberger's Sophie were the classic portrayals of their roles for a decade and more in Vienna, they identify with their characters to an extraordinary degree (Edelmann with his authentic Viennese accent). And what playing from the Philharmonic at one of its peaks! With Mr. Vienna holding the stick, it doesn't get more authentic than this.

This actually was shot on film, with a prerecorded soundtrack to which the singers lip-sync, so it is not the snapshot of actuality that the other videos provide. But this also means that there are no incidental fluffs or insecurities; it's as near perfection as can be.
Yes, John, I agree with you on this totally.

The Kiri Te Kanewa video from the MET has finally been released on DVD as part of the 40th Anniversary package celebrating Levine's tenure at the MET. So many treasures....

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ChrisBrewster
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Re: Video/movie versions of Rosenkavalier

Post by ChrisBrewster » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:09 pm

John F wrote:The most glamourous "Rosenkavalier" on film is the 1962 ... Herbert von Karajan ... Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Sena Jurinac, Anneliese Rothenberger, and Otto Edelmann, with Erich Kunz in the minor but crucial role of Faninal.
My note wasn't very detailed about this, but that's the one I ordered. I saw it years ago on a big screen, but haven't seen it since.

My only reservation about the work is using a soprano for Octavian. Why does this this make aesthetic sense? I think operas benefit from a variety of voices, so the scenes that are only sopranos get a little wearing. Please forgive my philistinism, but for my taste it would work best to have a mezzo or alto for the Marschallin, soprano for Sophie, and tenor for Octavian.

John F
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Re: Video/movie versions of Rosenkavalier

Post by John F » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:59 pm

Strauss wrote the part of Octavian to sit comfortably in the soprano tessitura, and indeed the very first Octavian was a soprano, Eva von der Osten, whose other roles included Ariadne, the dyer's wife, Sieglinde, Brünnhilde, and Isolde. Her voice was bigger and darker than the first Marschallin's, Margarethe Siems, a high coloratura soprano who was also the first Zerbinetta and sang the Queen of the Night and bel canto roles - but she also created the role of Chrysothemis. And here they are in the Act 3 trio, with Minnie Nast as Sophie, recorded in Berlin the same year:



The premiere was given in Dresden, a house devoted to Strauss, and he was present, though the conductor was Ernst von Schuch, Dresden's long-time music director. To Strauss, then, a soprano Octavian made "aesthetic sense."

Historically, many sopranos have progressed through two or even all three of the leading female roles. Lotte Lehmann began as Sophie, then sang Octavian, and finally became the most celebrated Marschallin of her time. (Similarly, some sopranos including Dawn Upshaw have sung Susanna, Cherubino, and the countess in "Le Nozze di Figaro.") Other notable soprano Octavians at the Metropolitan Opera have included Maria Jeritza and Jarmila Novotna.

Sena Jurinac eventually graduated from Strauss's and Mozart's trouser roles to the "older woman" parts, and was wonderful in them. But she was also wonderful as the boys. Another soprano who sang Octavian and the composer was Irmgard Seefried, though in "Figaro" she always sang Susanna.

Strauss wasn't unhappy with a mezzo-soprano or even a contralto as Octavian. He was to have conducted the famous abridged "Rosenkavalier" recording with Lotte Lehmann, Elisabeth Schumann, and Maria Olczewska, an Amneris and Azucena; I've read that he demanded a higher fee than HMV were willing to pay, so they hired Robert Heger instead.

Looking back, I see that you were asking for an alternative to the Karajan film, and personally I can't recommend any. For me a "Rosenkavalier" performance depends crucially on the Marschallin and the conductor, and while Carlos Kleiber's two live performances are superbly conducted, neither they nor any of the other videos I've seen have a Marschallin so inside the role and identifying with it as Schwarzkopf. Sorry!

If the TV cameras had been in the Württemberg State Opera (Stuttgart) the same night I was, when the young Carlos Kleiber conducted "Rosenkavalier" with Sena Jurinac (as the Marschallin) and Otto Edelmann as guests, then we'd be talking. But unfortunately that's only a faded memory.
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scytheavatar
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Re: Video/movie versions of Rosenkavalier

Post by scytheavatar » Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:19 pm

ChrisBrewster wrote:My only reservation about the work is using a soprano for Octavian. Why does this this make aesthetic sense? I think operas benefit from a variety of voices, so the scenes that are only sopranos get a little wearing. Please forgive my philistinism, but for my taste it would work best to have a mezzo or alto for the Marschallin, soprano for Sophie, and tenor for Octavian.
Because Richard Strauss =/= Richard Wagner; Strauss's operas are in many ways the anti-Wagner operas; they rebelled against Wagner's style and attempted to bring back Mozart's style to the german operas. Because of that the focus is more on beautiful than dramatic singing, and like Mozart Strauss loves to have Sopranos in his operas and tend to give baritones/basses bigger roles than tenors.
Last edited by scytheavatar on Sun Dec 05, 2010 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

John F
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Re: Video/movie versions of Rosenkavalier

Post by John F » Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:27 am

Two of Mozart's most famous operas, "Le Nozze di Figaro" and "Don Giovanni," do indeed have basses rather than tenors in the principal roles. In all his other operas, however, the tenor is the male lead, or shares the lead with a bass ("Così fan tutte").

Strauss differs from Mozart in usually giving sopranos the most prominent roles, with tenors and basses in shorter or character parts. The main exception would be "Die Frau ohne Schatten," in which all four principal roles are about equal.

Strauss's trouser roles for sopranos were unquestionably in emulation of Mozart's, but they also grew out of Strauss's love for the soprano voice. His wife Pauline de Ahna was an operatic soprano, and it might be revealing if we had a recording of her in one of her characteristic roles. She was what the Germans call a youthful-dramatic soprano, and ranged from Pamina to Elisabeth and heavier roles like Leonore. She gave up singing on marrying Strauss in 1897, so we don't know what she sounded like, but her Fach was that of the Marschallin, Ariadne, Arabella, and the Countess in "Capriccio." And of course Christine Storch in "Intermezzo," that opera à clef based on the lives and personalities of the Strausses themselves.
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Re: Video/movie versions of Rosenkavalier

Post by rogch » Sun Dec 05, 2010 7:49 am

I really like the DVD with Thielemann conducting and Flemming, Kaufmann and others in the leading roles. I guess the staging is somewhat "updated", but as far as i can see it does not really change the story. I actually think this production was more focused than Otto Schenk's "traditional" stagings that tend to be very predictable and almost cartoonish. But i can live with that in this opera and both the Kleiber recordings are very enjoyable. The Vienna version perhaps has an edge as far as the singing is concerned, but the Bavarian recording has a better orchestral sound in my opinion. I guess either one of these two recordings will do, i have both because they were part of the Carlos Kleiber DVD box set from Deutsche Grammophon. But i still would like the Thielemann as an alternative take on the work.
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stenka razin
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Re: Video/movie versions of Rosenkavalier

Post by stenka razin » Mon Dec 06, 2010 10:25 am

rogch wrote:I really like the DVD with Thielemann conducting and Flemming, Kaufmann and others in the leading roles. I guess the staging is somewhat "updated", but as far as i can see it does not really change the story. I actually think this production was more focused than Otto Schenk's "traditional" stagings that tend to be very predictable and almost cartoonish. But i can live with that in this opera and both the Kleiber recordings are very enjoyable. The Vienna version perhaps has an edge as far as the singing is concerned, but the Bavarian recording has a better orchestral sound in my opinion. I guess either one of these two recordings will do, i have both because they were part of the Carlos Kleiber DVD box set from Deutsche Grammophon. But i still would like the Thielemann as an alternative take on the work.
Agreed, I have the Thielemann on Blu-ray and it is very good, indeed. 8)


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