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REVIEW | Der Rosenkavalier | Opera North

Der Rosenkavalier is a classic opera that tells the tale of love, scandal and power. Incredibly relevant, it is a story about a powerful man who thinks he can get everything he wants, including every woman he wants to fall in love with him.

The poised and aristocratic Marschallin is having an affair with Count Octavian, a much younger boy who falls utterly in love with her. She is fearful he will leave her for a younger woman and therefore enables him to meet Sophie, a beautiful young girl who is being forced to marry the pompous and obnoxious Baron Ochs. There is a consistent love triangle throughout the show, and it is the perfect mixture of humour and drama.

The lavish set is what makes the production so sumptuous, with majestic gold exterior and strikingly high-class furniture, not a detail is overlooked when it came to staging this extravagant production. This is also mirrored in the beautiful costumes, as the women are draped in glorious long dresses that are stitched together exquisitely, and the men are suited and booted in era-appropriate costumes.

The orchestra magnificently perform the explosive score, capturing every intricacy of the music, it is a wholesome and moving performance to accompany the remarkable singers. Ylva Kihlberg performs excellently as the decadent Marschallin, she has the strength and power required for the role. However, the stand-out performance belongs to Helen Sherman who takes on the role as the Octavian. Her stamina throughout the production is impressive as she manages to portray all the extensive emotions in which her character endures. Her voice blends notably with Fflur Wyn’s as Sophie Von Faninal, and their final duet is that of a tear-jerker.

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Henry Waddington’s performance as the baron is exceptional. He masters the conceited nature of the role and his fervent desire for power is evident through his distinct characterisation. He is forceful and sexist, making the audience instantly detest him. It is a humorous reflection of a highly topical male figure that was recently elected president in the states, which I’m sure many audience members were also thinking last night.

Bursting with rich characters, the attention to detail in terms of the smaller roles is spectacular. A particular highlight being Italian Tenor, Jung Soo Yun’s aria in the first act, which is utterly mesmerising.

Der Rosenkavalier is a splendid and grand production, Opera North have outdone themselves with their compelling performance.

On at the Lowry until the 12th of November, tickets can be found here.

 

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