Coote brings an extra dose of passion to Lyric’s “Rosenkavalier”

Sat Mar 05, 2016 at 1:36 pm

By Wynne Delacoma

Alice Coote is singing the role of Octavian for the final performances of Strauss's "Der Rosenkavalier" at Lyric Opera. Photo: Todd Rosenberg
Alice Coote is singing the role of Octavian for the final performances of Strauss’s “Der Rosenkavalier” at Lyric Opera. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

With the arrival Friday night of English mezzo-soprano Alice Coote as Octavian in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s vibrant production of Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, the romance between the opera’s young lovers took on new heat.

Lyric audiences remember Coote from past seasons, especially her incendiary performance as Dejanira, the wronged wife in Peter Sellers updated production of Handel’s Hercules in 2011.

Along with her rich, silvery voice, Coote brought that same dramatic intensity to the aristocratic teenager struggling with his passion for both the older, sophisticated Marschallin (Amanda Majeski) and the appealingly naive young Sophie (Christina Landshamer). The duets with Landshamer, who has become much relaxed in the role since opening night were full of melting harmonies and the yearning of an earnest young man stunned to find himself impossibly in love.

Though his noble upbringing, not to mention his manners, were impeccable, there was a hint of impetuous frat boy in Coote’s Octavian. Watching him pace as the boorish Baron Ochs harassed Sophie, we could all but see the steam rising beneath his elegant silver frock coat and powdered wig. Smart, sensitive, full of life, this was an Octavian to cherish.

Der Rosenkavalier runs through March 13.; 312-827-5600.

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