Strauss himself feared that the public at large would not know how to take this “treat for cultural connoisseurs” - but he was wrong. His “theatrical fugue” was to become one of the most frequently perfomed of his late works. This is probable due to the figure of the countess with her good-humoured charm and subtle tact.
The “Los Angeles Times” wrote on Kiri Te Kanawa’s performance in Capriccio with San Francisco Opera in as part of a two-week “Celebration of Strauss” event: “The cast is dominated by the radiant Kiri Te Kanawa as the countess Madeleine. Proud but never prim, gracious but never precious, she sustains the essential erotic allure without making a point of it. Most important she inflects the arching lines with shimmering, silvery tone, delicately shaded, and she respects the difference between sentiment an sentimentality.”
Quotes from the audience:
“This production is absolutely fabulous. I can't imagine a production being more perfect - the chemistry between the Countess and both the poet and composer keep you really guessing as to which one she'll chose, in Richard Strauss' greatest masterpiece. Keenlyside is a stand-out performer, singing beautifully.”
“As for Te Kanawa - she IS the ONLY Countess! She sings beautifully, and her acting talent is supreme. She masters the tricky final scene amazingly well. Te Kanawa is the human Countess, she's not untouchable, she's on your level, and makes you feel truly sympathetic towards this beautiful woman. A performance Richard Strauss himself would be proud of!”
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