Review: Opera North: Der Rosenkavalier

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The wife of the Field Marshall is enjoying a morning romp in bed with her young lover, Count Octavian, the orchestral horns relating the events taking place in the short prelude leading to David McVicar’s elegent period production of Richard Strauss’s opera, Der Rosenkavalier.

It is a bitter-sweet story that surrounds the comedy created by the lechereous old buffoon, Baron Ochs, who has arrived in Vienna to be the groom in a prearranged marriage with the teenage Sophie, though in the event it is Octavian and Sophie who fall in love.

The young conductor, Aleksander Markovic, will learn in time that their first meeting is one of opera’s most blissful moments which must never be rushed, and in that ecstatic moment the young soprano, Fflur Wyn, floated such beautiful notes on high, that she deserved a far more affectionate accompaniment.

The cast, both vocally and visually, is very good, Helen Sherman, looking and sounding every bit the impassionednd impulsive Octavian, while Ylva Kihlberg, as the Marschellin, was superb, when, in the final act, she realises her affair is over. Henry Waddingham is a suitably boisterous Ochs, and there’s a splendid team of minor characters, mainly drawn from Opera North’s excellent chorus,

Further Leeds performances September 24 & 30 and October 22 & 28.

By David Denton