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Richard Strauss’ sixth collaboration with librettist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, “Arabella,” contains all of the lushness one expects to hear from Strauss and has character depth and an enjoyable story, as well.
The story, about a destitute Count who is trying to marry off his older daughter, has humor in it, but underneath the humor is a thick layer of social commentary. Although not as popular as some of Strauss’ other operas, “Arabella” is charming and entertaining.
The orchestra, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, is the star of this show. They play Strauss’ music with gorgeous lines and expressiveness. The conductor brought out a wide range of colors from the pit that was, at times, more compelling than what was happening on the stage.
Erin Wall is a wonderful Arabella. She sang previously at the Santa Fe Opera, but this role seems to be a perfect fit for her. It is vocally demanding and she handles it with grace and ease.
Heidi Stober sings the role of Arabella’s sister, Zdenka/Zdenko. Her pure voice lends an air of innocence to her performance and her acting is superb. Stober shines in this role of the put-upon younger sister.
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