Saturday 19 November 2011

There's Runnicles, with highlights from Der Rosenkavalier and the return of Vilde Frang

High on the list of Donald Runnicles' many talents is his skill as an opera conductor. It is therefore good news when the BBC SSO programme something that enables him to showcase this. Like last year's Wagner, we once again didn't get a full opera, but the selection they presented from Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier was no less satisfying for it.

The hour or so of music that Runnicles had chosen both contained key highlights, such as the presentation of the rose, but also preserved the core narrative and flowed convincingly in dramatic terms. In addition, his keen sense of theatre ensured that the singers acted rather than just standing on stage, so, to take one example among many, we saw poignant glances back towards Octavian from Twyla Robinson's Marschallin as she exited.

The cast of singers assembled, which also included Lucy Crowe as Sophie and Daniela Sindram (appropriately costumed for her trouser role) was hard to fault, unless of course you particularly missed the male parts, which had been edited out entirely.