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Rimsky-Korsakov: Sadko / Gergiev/Kirov Opera [DVD]

Album Summary

>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Sadko
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"A tight, well worked and beautifully scored opera whose time must come on our stages, Sadko is like Peer Gynt with a happy ending. The fantasist hero (Sadko) manages to convince the rich merchants of Novgorod of his dreams of wealth to be made from voyages overseas, is saved from disaster by the daughter of the Sea King with whom he has already started an affair, and returns in rich triumph to his long-suffering and abandoned wife. (The Sea King's daughter, Volkhova, the opera's prima donna, has conveniently given up her love for Sadko by metamorphosing herself into a river, as one does.)

The music is everything one might expect from the Wagner-influenced Rimsky, now let loose at length on a story of the sea. If the term "opera-ballet" has confused you, all becomes clear here as the two disciplines are beautifully fused.

The Kirov's production is 200 per cent traditional and the sets ("original designs" by Konstantin Korovin) look at least 100 years old. The ground production, dancing aside, is minimal: the soloists are allowed to act (a bit), the chorus just stand around in the costumes and belt it out. But, unlike the Metropolitan's retro-Wagner craze of the 1980s, this is conservatism by choice and tradition which is capable of producing some astonishing coups de theater. Try Tableau 5 where Sadko's ship is becalmed in mid-ocean (it's a bonus that his crew are all dressed as Canio for the last scene of Pagliacci): pure pantomime magic. Imagine a Fliegende Höllander in this style! Or Tableau 6, the Sea King's realm, with wonderful aquarium-like underwater seaweed and the wrecks of ships falling to the sea bed upstage.

To say the cast is stellar is to understate the case - Larissa Diadkova as Novgorod's resident minstrel and Gegam Grigorian as the Indian Merchant are just the small parts. The main action is carried well by Vladimir Galusin's charismatic but nicely understated Sadko and the more excessive camp of his lady loves Tsidopova and Tarassova. Brian Large has done nothing finer than this careful, atmospheric rendering of early 20th-century high theatrics. Gergiev conducts most fluently although, for once, you hardly notice him. Highly recommended as a guilty pleasure.

Notes & Reviews:

Run Time: 175 min.
Region: All
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9 anamorphic, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM Stereo, DTS 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Chinese
Country of Origin: USA


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Works Details

>Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolai : Sadko
  • Performers: Sergei Aleksashkin (Bass); Genadij Bezzubenkov (Bass); Yevgeny Boitsov (Tenor); Larissa Diadkova (Mezzo Soprano); Vladimir Galusin (Tenor); Marianna Tarasova (Mezzo Soprano); Valentina Tsidipova (Mezzo Soprano)
  • Conductor: Valery Gergiev
  • Ensemble: Kirov Theater Orchestra
  • Running Time: 175 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1894-1896