Our friend Susannah Fiennes invites us to the ENO for the Rosenkavalier. C was committed to be with the grandchildren in Cambridge but I could come and we were joined by the wife of a great accompanist.
This production is ravishing and the performances are utterly stunning. The four principals are all tremendous singers at varying stages of their careers, working together brilliantly under the baton of the utterly superb Ed Gardner. We begin with Amanda Roocroft's Feldmarschallin and Sarah Connolly's Octavian in bed: the erotic daze of the 17-year-old lover beautifully sung and acted ("Wie du warst! Wie du bist!"). John Tomlinson is then wonderful as the blustering snobbish vulgar lustful Baron Ochs. Having heard Sophie Bevan before I was greatly looking forward to her in the 2nd act and was not at all disappointed: she was indeed the equal to the three other amazingly illustrious singers, and at two points tears were brought to my eyes.
Being in a box we had an excellent view of the orchestra and of Ed Gardner's conducting. It was quite extraordinary how he brings out the very best in all his musicians with such economy of gesture and the rapport between him and the singers is amazing. Indeed the final climactic trio almost felt like a quartet.
We left quite overwhelmed, all feeling that we had experienced one of the finest opera performances we had ever seen.