I used mostly my ears

a blog about music by Marc Haegeman


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Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans

Piotr Tchaikovsky: The Maid of Orleans
Irina Arkhipova (Joan)
Yevgeny Vladimirov (Thibaut)
Vladimir Makhov (King Charles)
Klavdia Radchenko (Agnes Sorel)
Vladimir Valaitis (Dunois)
Sergey Yakovenko (Lionel)
Lev Vernigora (Archbishop)
Andrey Sokolov (Raymond)
Viktor Selivanov (Bertrand)
Vartan Mikaelian (Soldier)
Academic Choir & Symphony Orchestra of All-Union Radio & Television, Scene & Wind Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre/Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Melodiya CD 1002053 ADD 3CDs: 53:26, 67:30, 52:51

Tchaikovsky's Maid of Orleans

Arkhipova sings the Maid of Orleans

In remarkable contrast to the preceding Eugene Onegin, Tchaikovsky’s fifth surviving opera The Maid of Orleans (1878-81) emulates French grand opera, mixing grandiose pageantry with melodramatic passages against a pseudo-historic background – the intervention of Joan of Arc in the Anglo-French war in the early 15th century. Unlike its predecessor, The Maid of Orleans never achieved a firm place in the international opera repertory. Riddled with a flawed, patchwork libretto penned by the composer himself (largely based on Schiller’s tragedy, but also the libretto by Jules Barbier and other sources) the opera may be overblown and dramatically uneven, yet it doesn’t deserve its status of virtually complete neglect amongst Tchaikovsky’s output either. There is plenty of splendid music to enjoy, in effect quite a lot more than in several other, more reputed operas – try the famous aria in Act 1, sometimes heard in concert programs, where Joan takes leave of the world she has known since childhood, but also her narration in Act 2, the two love duets with Lionel in Act 3 and 4, and the final scene.
Read the full review on Classical Net


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Little known opera’s by Rimsky-Korsakoff

The Tsar’s Bride
Galina Vishnevskaya
Vladimir Atlantov
Irina Arkhipova
Evgeny Nesterenko
Choir & Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre/Fuat Mansurov
Melodiya MELCD1001876 2CDs ADD

Mlada
Sinfonietta on Russian Themes in A minor *

Alexey Korolev
Tatiana Turaginova
Vladimir Makhov
Alexey Bolshakov
Great Choir of the All-Union Radio
Male Group of the Choir of the Bolshoi Theatre
Great Symphony Orchestra/Evgeny Svetlanov
* State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the USSR/Evgeny Svetlanov
Melodiya MELCD1001829 3CDs ADD

The Tsar's Bride

The Tsar’s Bride

Further exploration of the Russian Melodiya vaults gave us this reissue of two historical recordings of fascinating but little-known opera’s from Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakoff. The Tsar’s Bride dating from 1899 may be Rimsky-Korsakoff’s most popular opera in Russia, abroad it remains still very much a gem to discover. Even rarer is Mlada, a mythological opera-ballet extravaganza with a Wagnerian, Ring-influenced orchestration, premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892, wherein, curiously, the title role is taken by a dancer rather than a singer.
Read the full review on Classical Net