Poland, Wrocław, Wrocław Opera: „The Knight of the Rose“ by Richard Strauss, PREMIER Saturday 13 December 2014
1. Akt. Foto: Marek Grotowski
Last Saturday, 13 December 2014, Wrocław Opera house presented a premier performance of music from „The Knight of the Rose“ opera by Richard Strauss. This opera returned to this place after 103 years. Years ago, the composer himself directed the symphonic orchestra of the Wrocław Concert House that was in exactly the same place where today’s opera house building is located. This fact was also mentioned at the premier meeting with professor Ewa Michnik, who is also a music director for this performance.
At the end of the world’s celebration of the great composer’s 150th birth anniversary, a great performance was presented, which had been prepared by an international team of artists: Georg Rootering who directed the show, Noll Lucas who created the sets and Margaret Słoniowska who prepared the costumes.
After the overture, which was directed by our experienced director, and after unveiling the curtains, we saw a beautiful scene set, with subtle scenery, with no pomp or randomness, where carefully selected details played a great role; this entire picture made us feel as if we were in a posh Vienna room.
Carefully designed and prepared costumes complemented the artistic setting; characters were accurately selected to reflect the richness of this opera.
Franz Hawlata, Anna Bernacka. Foto: Marek Grotowski
International artists were invited to the Wrocław scene to play the main roles; among others were Franz Hawlata as Baron Ochs, who played perfectly the role of this domineering, boorish, aging mercenary suitor and Meagan Miller who sang graciously the role of the Princess, obsessed with time passing and in love with a young man. Both the artists proved once again their extensive experience on the scene which they had gained while working with several scene and orchestra directors. Anna Bernacka,2013; Wrocław Opera soloist, joined this world class duet and created the most spectacular character of the performance; she performed the role of Octavian. This was a very demanding challenge as the composer selected a female voice to play the role of this young man.
The public enjoyed and laughed a lot when following the story of those three characters which is a great success of the performance director who achieved a very comedy-like character of this show. Secondary characters were also selected with great care and they contributed greatly to the success of the entire performance; master performance of a pair of schemers and traitors was given by Jadwiga Postrożna (as Annina) and Nikolay Dorożkin (as Valzacchi) whose intrigues were accompanied in a very funny yet convincing manner by a children’s choir. Aleksander Zuchowicz as the Innkeeper, played brilliantly and contradicted the common stereotype of a fat and strong-built individual; this added more comedy spice to the show. All the other characters contributed perfectly to the show performig; in perfectly matched costumes, e.g. a priest, lackeys, waiters, musicians, a notary, or noble orphans. The plot was so well designed that even though the scene was full of people (adults and children) everybody had their place and nothing was left to randomness.
The Wrocław Opera orchestra achieved finesse and „space“ in this beautifully composed and performed opera which is considered a difficult one. Ewa Michnik, the music director, contributed greatly to this success. She has always been fascinated by this composer and in the past she directed successfully another opera of this composer 2013 „The Woman without a Shadow“. Last Saturday’s performance ascertained the public that the music and the composers intentions were well reflected in this performance.
I heartily recommend this performance which you will soon be able to admire in Wrocław Opera repertoire. On 20 December 2014, there will be another performance of this show followed by a few more in 2015.
Iwona Karpińska / Wrocław