Arabella

 

Strauss Arabella opera to a libretto by Hugo von Hofmannsthal. Directed 2014 by Florentine Klepper at the Salzburg Easter Festival. Stars Renée Fleming, Thomas Hampson, Albert Dohmen, Gabriela Beňačková, and Hanna-Elisabeth Müller. Christian Thielemann conducts the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden. Released 2014, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio Sound. Grade: NA

Hugo Shirley, writing in the February 2015 Gramophone (pages 92-93)bemoans, "there's no disguising the fact that the voice [of Renée Fleming] has lost much of its creaminess, often thinning out where it should soar." He also pans Thomas Hampson for a "dry and undernourished" voice and director Florentine Klepper for inconsistence in approach. But Mark Mandel is more enthusiastic in his review in the March 2015 Opera News at pages 55-56. He says that Fleming and Hampson, though aging out, still have the "intelligence, musicianship, phrasing, acting, and looks" to acquit themselves well.