Review Scene: Capriccio, Palais Theatre, 31st August 2023 by Clinton Dean

Capriccio – Palais Theatre


On the 31st of August, Victorian Opera presented a single performance of Richard Strauss’s rarely performed opera “Capriccio” at the Palais Theatre, St. Kilda.


The opera (from 1942) is the last the composer wrote and suffers from a static text which consists of a series of conversations between the main characters. They are debating whether music or lyrics is more important in opera. Nothing dramatic occurs at all. In view of this, it was asking a lot to have the audience seated for two and a half hours without an interval. You could see people around you shifting in their seats and growing restless from the halfway mark.


All the same, there was much for the music lover to enjoy. Simone Young, the conductor, is internationally famous for conducting German opera, and it was a privilege to hear her skilful interpretation of the music. Vida Mikneviciute, as the Countess, shone in her role, as did Simon Meadows as the Theatre Director, making the most of the comedy provided in the text. Teddy Tahu Rhodes was also a powerful presence as the Major Domo.


The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the great, magical final scene with the Countess. Richard Strauss loved the female voice and, in this scene, created some of the most beautiful music he ever wrote.


Victorian Opera should be thanked for giving Melbourne music lovers an opportunity to hear this little-known work.


Clinton Dean 

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