Der Rosenkavalier at Helsinki

A triumphant ‘Rosenkavalier’
By George Loomis International Herald Tribune
Wednesday, December 8, 2004
HELSINKI Far be it from me to foment rivalry between sopranos, but Finland has another who is fully worthy of the international acclaim already lavished on the captivating Karita Mattila.
Soile Isokoski leaves no doubts about her artistic distinction, with her sumptuously sung, moving portrayal of the Marschallin (the Field Marshal’s Wife) in the Finnish National Opera’s production of “Der Rosenkavalier.”
The voice – resonant, glowing in timbre and of ideal size – is the perfect instrument for Strauss and is deployed with utmost sensitivity. Her account of a woman who knows from the start that her affair with a young lover will eventually come to an end, is wistful yet restrained and never sentimental, which makes it all the more poignant.
Each of the role’s many memorable moments registers tellingly, none more so than the opening phrase of the final trio. Isokoski recently recorded Strauss’s “Four Last Songs,” and these few bars of the trio, sung with flawless legato yet with each syllable bearing emotional weight, seemed charged with the full autumnal glory of one of these songs. Her Marschallin has been heard in Paris, Dresden and Vienna. She brings it home in triumph.