There was only one dissapointment concerning this version, I want to tell at the beginning:
BAD camera. The quality is under-average, even for a take-up from 1998. The camera was sometimes so focussed on Zunko that you only could see her head while important things happen around her and the strange fixed wig, showing in a lilac stripe all over her forehead doesn't make that better. And sometimes there happened things like a panorama view of the whole stage while Sissi and Franz share their first kiss, and you wonder if they kissed or not beause you barely see their faces because of take-up quality combined with that camera angle... to say it in a few words, Takarazuka has a lot of far better shooted perfomances =/ but on the other hand I was influenced by the Tsukigumi version with it's brilliant quality and very nice camera work, and I'm sure that's a reason for my judge, because I expected it to be better.
But now to the other (and much more important) parts of the performance:
Zunko is breathtaking. She's powerful and violent, totally cold-hearted in any way except the one she treats Sissi. And her voice... wow, just wow. Her voice supports her acting in every possible way.
What I prefer on Saeko is her facial play, especially during the Mayerling waltz, she grins like mad and seems to live for and love to drive someone to death and that I did really, really miss on Zunko in this scene, and gestics, because Saeko moves a bit more flowing, while Zunko moves as powerful as she acts and sings.
Both of them created their individual Death and both are absolutely wonderful.
Hana is totally different to Asako in this role.
Asa plays an a little wild young Sissi, taming herself in many ways over the years and sometimes even a little belligerent when Death tries to get her.
Hana is more the child, which wants it's dreams and ideals to become true. She does not really tame herself, she develops, resings, and becomes harder. Her relationship to Death is... well, I miss something. I don't feel a real relationship from her side and it's more as she is drifting into deaths arms instead of deciding for him at the end.
What I like in her acting is that she plays Elizabeth more like the historical Elizabeth (in my eyes), because while she appears so strong, you feel that there is something broken deep inside her.
I'm not able to judge who is the 'better' Elizabeth, but personally I prefer Asako.
Wao is Franz. She is perfect. I totally love her deep voice and her way of singing and she did a damn good job as Franz-Josef. What I noticed positive when I compare her to Gaichi, Wao really showed that Franz is deeply in love with Sissi, even if he does what his mother tells him. She hugs Hana so loving and protecting, when Sissi tries to convince Franz to help her against his mother, kisses her on the forehead, and holding her until she calmes down a bit. And that makes it even more heartbreaking that Franz leaves her alone after that ;__;
When it comes to Sophie, Wao acts as if she could get slapped any moment and doesn't laugh at all until she meets Sissi for the first time. All in all, she's a much more serious Franz than Gaichi, at least at the beginning. While Gaichi makes Franz develop over the years, Wao's Franz is a serious man right at the beginning. I can not really tell which I like better, because I love both of them in this role. Gaichi is such an adorable cute young Franz, while Wao does the better job showing the love to Sissi.
I would have loved to see Wao and Asako act together, because each of them is the stronger part in their marriage, I'm curious how that would have turned out.
Uhm... Wataru acted good, but I think her voice is not made to sing so hoarse and sometimes she had to drop the tone she was singing.
It's not easy to say a lot about her because her acting was not so different to Kiriyan's (except of the drunken appearance), but (in my opinion) Kiriyan just was better in this role, the voice fitted better and she worked with more facial play. But nevertheless, Wataru made a great Lucheni and her grin and acting was adorable.
None of them was like the german Lucheni, who is more desperate in many points and less joker.
I'm not able to say who I love more. I love Yuuhi as I love Komu in this role.
Komu has such a male voice. When I first heared her during the overture, she sounded to me like a young man.
I really can't say much about her or Yuuhi, because they are two ways of cast Rudolph in the best possible way.
...and everything I forgot
Taki's voice was great for Sophie, I pitied Helene a bit, Max was wonderful (as always) and now I'm even more curious to see the Hanagumi version.
I loved her! I so absolutly fell in love with Noru as Oscar.
Her voice is wonderful and omg, this woman has singing skills.
She acted so like the manga Oscar about 90% of the play, that she gained my deep respect, especially because she was able to play Oscar in a way which shows that she's about 35, not 25 at the time the play takes place. She's an adult, not a girl.
The only point where she isn't like the manga Oscar is, that Noru plays an Oscar who shows when she's feeling inscure. But that's okay, that seems to be the way the role is intended. Perfect!
I also adored Saeko in the Fersen/Antoinette-hen of Soragumi, but she acts like a younger Oscar. That doesn't make her acting worse, it's great and damn cute like that. And -important point- she as Oscar and Mizu as Andre are absolutly perfect for each other, while Noru and Taatan act more indipedent from each other (but that may be because of the different version).
Hm. I love Mizu to bits and pieces in this role (and in general too) so it was a bit strange to see someone so different in the same part.
The best part of Taatans acting as Andre was her voice and the way she sang. It's absolutly perfect for Andre. She's also a great actress and the few moments I wished she would have acted another way appeared only because I'm so deeply in love with Mizu's acting as Andre.
Like Noru and unlike Mizu she also acts more grown-up, like a person in his thirties. She is able to express the loyality and love Andre feels for Oscar all the time and all in all she convinced me as Andre.
A surprise! From the manga I know Alain as a grown-up man, somehow similar to Andre, and then there was Yuu, appearing like a maybe 16-year-old boy and makes me fall in love with her and her acting as Alain straightaway. It's a pity that Alain's role is much smaller than in the manga, I would have loved to see more of him, for example his very strong loyality to Oscar at the end and this very short moment when he uses the opportunity to kiss her (it's just a 3-page-scene in the manga and it's the only time you notice that he fell in love with her, but I love it so much!).
A wonderful surprise! *__*
Marie-Antoinette and Fersen
Yuri was great as Antoinette! At the first scenes I did not really liked her, but she let Antoinette develop over time, and all in all she did a very nice job.
Touko as Fersen. Hnnnnn... to be true, I did not see her performing until now, and she did not really convinced me as Fersen. She was nice and her acting was good, but far too doubting and soft for Fersen. Wao in the Antoinette/Fersen-Version was also not 100% the manga Fersen, but Touko... Fersen is a very self-confindent man in my eyes and Touko acted very contrary to that. Maybe the fact that I did not understand much of what was said is also some reason for my impression. I'm curious to see her in other performances because I think it just isn't 'her' role.
...all that's left
It was a great perfomance and perfectly casted in nearly every scene.
And I love the Garde Francaise!