Notes and Editorial Reviews
The leading Strauss soprano of our time, Renée Fleming stars in one of her most acclaimed stage roles, the countess in Richard Strauss's Capriccio. This sumptuous production was specially mounted for Ms. Fleming by the Met, and Decca is proud to present it on DVD.
Capriccio examines the age old debate of what is superior – music or poetry. In the opera this is manifests itself through the widowed Countess struggling to decide between two potential loves - the composer Flamand (a composer) or Olivier (a poet). Her indecision reaches its climax in the famously beautiful final scene - one of Strauss's most passionate soliloquies for soprano, set to music of rapturous beauty - yet the opera leaves the audience on an
eternal cliffhanger, as her final decision is never revealed!
John Cox's Met production transports the opera from its original eighteenth century setting to the elegance of 1920’s Paris – an era beautifully captured in Robert Perdziola's acclaimed designs Under the baton of conductor Sir Andrew Davis, Renée Fleming leads a superb cast of Straussians, which includes Russell Braun and Joseph Kaiser as the poet and composer respectively. Morten Frank Larsen stars as the countess’ brother alongside the 'theatricals' - British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly, tenor Barry Banks. Peter Rose appears as the ‘director’ La Roche.
"The performance over all, sensitively conducted by Andrew Davis and featuring a winning cast, made an excellent case for this Strauss curiosity, his final opera, which had its premiere in Munich in 1942 in the midst of World War II...Ms. Fleming’s voice was plush and alluring; her phrasing noble."
-- Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
Works on This Recording
Capriccio, Op. 85 by Richard Strauss
Olga Makarina (Soprano),
Peter [bass voice] Rose (Bass),
Sarah Connolly (Mezzo Soprano),
Renée Fleming (Soprano),
Morten Frank Larsen (Baritone),
Russell Braun (Baritone),
Joseph Kaiser (Tenor),
Barry Banks (Tenor)
Sir Andrew Davis
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
Written: 1940-1941; Germany
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