Richard Strauss's last opera, includes some of the composer's most elegant and sumptuous music. The deftly woven vocal ensembles, detailed orchestral writing and light-handed parodies of eighteenth century music show the... more » hand of the master. Stars Kiri Te Kanawa, Hakan Hagegard, Tatiana Troyanos, and Victor Braun.« less
"This production is absolutely fabulous. The cast, headed by the incredible Kiri Te Kanawa as the Countess, is as follows:Hakan Hagegard - CountDavid Kuebler - ComposerSimon Keenlyside - PoetTatiyana Troyanos - ClarionVictor Braun - La RocheI can't imagine a production being more perfect - the chemistry between the Countess and both the poet and composer keep you really guessing as to which one she'll chose, in Richard Strauss' greatest masterpiece. Keenlyside is a stand-out performer, singing beautifully.As for Te Kanawa - she IS the ONLY Countess! She sings beautifully, and her acting talent is supreme. She masters the tricky final scene amazingly well. Te Kanawa is the human Countess, she's not untouchable, she's on your level, and makes you feel truly sympathetic towards this beautiful woman.A performance Richard Strauss himself would be proud of."
Capriccio's beauty and subtle music in a masterful performan
D. J. Edwards | Cheshire, CT United States | 02/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Capriccio is a difficult nut to crack as some critic commented somewhere but in a performance like this, the opera becomes a delight and worthy of all our attention. Te Kanawa is in radiant voice becoming Madeleine in voice, drama and acting. Troyanos, already seriously ill at the time, is a masterpiece of vocal wit and charm as the actress Clairon. Kuebler and (Flamand) Keenlyside (Olivier) bring purpose to their endless discussion about music vs. words and their importance in opera with their faithful and engaging voices and acting. Hagegard is an excellent La Roche bringing life and passion to his looooong monologue. All the beautiful singing and living characterizations almost prepare us for the orchestral intermezzo and radiant final scene. The music is wrapped in moonlight and velvet violins as Madeleine appears gowned regally for the evening supper. Accompanying herself on the harp she sings of her dilemma with an unwitting charm and love of words and music. Strauss waited a long time for the performance of his dreams"
P. J. G. | Altoona, PA United States | 04/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you don't love opera, this one may bore you to tears. But, if you adore opera, as I do, your tears may become a refreshing bath! Strauss sucessfully addressed the issue of "which is most important?" between words and music. (Elements of Traditional Theater come in later as a third contestant.)
Dame Kiri te Kawana glows in this, what some say is her most defining role. Perfectly complemented by a strong cast, including Troyanos in her final stage appearance. Great costumes and set, that will transport you to the 1775 Paris suburb. Not categorized as a comedy, humor is often used as punctuation. And, there is never a dull moment in this "one act" opera that lasts nearly 2 1/2 hours.
The three artists, the poet, composer, and stage director, all make their cases for the supreme importance of their individual crafts. In the process, lovers of opera will get a chance to appreciate more completely this most elaborate of art forms. I certainly did. It, (Opera) combines a tremendous number of elements that allow the viewer/listener to be carried off by intense passions, for an extended period of time. This production uses all these elements masterfully in the process of "educating" the audience of that very fact. Amusingly, one of the minor characters, the Count, ends up being dissuaded from his own professed dislike of opera.
As for the 'MYSTERY' of who the Countess chose? Composer/Poet, or Music/Words? I would direct those who don't know to her soliloquy at the end, especially the last two lines: She states emphatically, that to make such a decision, which she had agreed to make without much forethought, would be "trivial". That is, to favor one apart from the other would make them both of little effect and importance. Thankfully, Strauss and Krauss do not force her character to make that choice. Wouldn't that have been as obscene as "Sophie's Choice"?
If you are ready to dive deeply into opera, this title is a MUST for your collection. It proves that an art form can truly comment on itself. "
As Good as it gets.
R. P Winthrop | Farmville, VA United States | 08/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No weak links in the cast or production. It is beautiful to watch and to listen to. Kiri is at the top of her form. It's a literate opera with little action and plot. The beautiful voices and stongly drawn characters carry the opera along in a very satifactory way. The costumes are particularly fine, helping to deliniate the characters and adding visual spectacle to the opera. Troyanos is poutstanding. Her treatment of a minor charcter is wonderful."
Ben Brouwer | Minneapolis, MN USA | 01/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This an impressive performance of an opera that can be hard to get right. The ensemble cast is extraordinary, with nary a weak link. As expected, Te Kanawa (as the Countess) is radiant and beautiful in voice and appearance. Keenlyside (as Olivier) has a handsome baritone voice and it's unfortunate that he hasn't made more recordings. Braun (as La Roche) is exceptional too, with a stage presence that is properly suggestive of his character's vast experience. I've never been a fan of Troyanos's voice and I'd prefer von Otter in this role (whose diction is remarkable; see the Opera Paris production on TDK DVD) but she has the technique and the dramatic presence to pull it off.
The sound is excellent overall but there are a couple audio issues that are minor annoyances. When Kiri hits her high notes, there is some distortion as if the levels were set a bit high (I've played it on a couple systems just to be sure it wasn't my own hardware). And because it is a live performance and people are scattered all over the stage, some voices are too far back in the mix in the large ensemble pieces.
The staging is traditional and in line with Strauss's wishes. All things considered, this is one of the best opera DVDs I have and it remains to be one of my favorite."