(Previous section here.)
Or I guess it is a discussion of one’s relationship with the past, kind of. It occurred to me as I was watching this that Ochs has in a sense what the Marschallin claims at one point to want – he lacks awareness of growing old, or at least he lacks awareness that his escapades are crass and ridiculous. Damn Hofmannsthal and his subtle libretto.
Poor Kiri Te Kanawa as the Marschallin is saddled with a costume in Act I that at one point is in serious danger of what I believe is called a wardrobe malfunction, but crisis is averted by a few adept adjustments and by the saving presence, at least from the camera angle we get, of Tatiana Troyanos’s (Octavian’s) head. But anyhow. About Troyanos. I really appreciated her performance here. In the Act II duets with Sophie (Judith Blegen) the timbre of Troyanos’s voice just leaps out and it’s really a pleasure to listen to. Blegen I did not enjoy as much. Her Sophie is just a little too sweet – in the section where Sophie is explaining how she won’t brook insults in her new status, and how she’s memorized all of Octavian’s names, Sophie comes across as a rather empty little thing. And she doesn’t get more interesting as the music and the story move on, the way you’d expect.
The more I hear of Kiri Te Kanawa the more I wish I had lived in New York as a kid and could have been taken to the Met as a child and heard her. (Never fear: I was a very well behaved little girl and would not have made noise or otherwise spoiled anyone else’s evening.) I might not have remembered much, but at least I could say that I’d been there. She seems to have gravitated to roles that are more on the dignified/reserved end of the dramatic spectrum in terms of the style of acting – her Marschallin is difficult to read sometimes. But I could listen to her sing for hours.
So. Having listened to this and experienced both fun and frustration (with the fact that I don’t feel like I really have absorbed the music yet), I think that what I am going do next is get ahold of a copy of the score.