Saturday, October 1, 2016

BSO — 2016/10/01

N.B.: This week's Saturday Concert begins an hour earlier than usual, at 7:00, Boston Time (and ends an hour later than usual, at 11:15 or so).

This week the BSO gives us a single work, but what a work! It's the opera "Der Rosenkavalier," by Richard Strauss. Music Director Andris Nelsons will be on the podium, and Assistant Conductor Ken-David Masur will conduct the off stage band in the third act. Here's the synopsis from the BSO's performance detail page:
Continuing their series of Richard Strauss operas in concert, which has so far brought star-studded performances of Salome in March 2014 and Elektra in October 2015, Andris Nelsons and the BSO open their 2016-17 subscription season with the composer's far more genteel, elegant, and touching Der Rosenkavalier, the second (following Elektra) in Strauss's own series of remarkable collaborations with playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal. A dream cast headlined by Renée Fleming's Marschallin, Susan Graham's Octavian, Erin Morley's Sophie, and Franz Hawlata's Baron Ochs anchors the BSO's performances of this subtle, often funny, and beautiful opera, one of the composer's finest.
Complete concert version with two intermissions, sung in German with English supertitles 
(Some emphasis added.)

See the performance detail page for links to a podcast, program notes, audio preview, and performer bios.

I was there on Thursday, and was very pleased with the semi-staged performance. Strauss is far from my favorite composer, but this is one of his good compositions, IMO. The interactions of the singers, the changes of clothing for Octavian/Mariandel, the few chairs and props, and the surtitles made for a clear understanding of what was going on, in both the comic and the poignant moments. I found it both entertaining and thought provoking — the latter having to do with the contrast between the affair of the Marschallin and her religiosity and sense of honor.

I'm not sure how well it will work without all the visual items I mentioned as part of the performance. The music was fine, not only the lead singers, but several in minor roles; but I don't think the full experience can be there for someone who isn't already very familiar with the libretto and the action, perhaps having seen a staged performance. But certainly the music is worth listening to in its own right. The review in the Globe was very favorable. The one in the Boston Musical Intelligencer qualifies as a rave. I'm having trouble getting the favorable one in the Boston Globe to link. If I can get it later, I'll link it here.

As always, WCRB will make it available via radio and internet (click on "Listen Live" near the top of the homepage for the webstream). There is a page about the performance with some detail and a link to a podcast. the Upcoming BSO Broadcasts page lists future broadcasts/webstreams, but doe not include the usual Monday repeat of this show, so apparently this evening is the only chance to hear it.

Don't forget, the show starts at 7:00 — an hour earlier than usual. Enjoy.

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