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Opera in English - Janacek: Katya Kabanova / Rizzi, et al

Album Summary

>Janácek, Leos : Kata Kabanova, opera, JW 1/8
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Janacek once wrote that Katya Kabanova, his sixth opera, was "one of my most tender works," and his score contrasts extreme beauty with fateful oppression to wonderful emotional and passionate effect. Katya Kabanova is performed here with Cheryl Barker as Katya reprising her performance in the 2004 Welsh National Opera Production. This is the only available recording in English.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This is the fifth Janácek opera in Chandos's Opera in English series, and with vivid, well separated sound, balancing the voices in front of the orchestra, the first impression is how clear the words are from the singers of the Welsh National Opera production on which the recording is based.

It is fascinating to compare this version with Mackerras's Decca recording with the Vienna Philharmonic and an excellent, mainly Czech cast, Elisabeth Söderström taking the title-role. If that recording is marginally richer and weightier than the new Chandos, the strings of WNO play with comparable refinement. Rizzi's interpretation in all three acts is a degree more urgent, with speeds consistently faster, no doubt reflecting his experience of conducting it live.

As in the English Makropulos Case, the principal singer is Cheryl Barker, fresh, clear and powerful, more girlish-sounding than Söderström.

Gwynne Howell as the merchant Dikoi, uncle of Boris, is also excellent.

The old Norman Tucker translation is used with some minor amendments by Rodney Blumer, nom de plume of critic Rodney Milnes, with words admirably clear throughout, adding to the dramatic impact of the piece.


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Works Details

>Leos Janácek (Composer) (1854 - 1928) : Káta Kabanová, opera, JW 1/8
  • Performers: Cheryl Barker (Soprano); Robert Brubaker (Tenor); Claire Hampton (Soprano); Jane Henschel (Alto); Peter Hoare (Tenor); Philip Holtam; Gwynne Howell (Bass); Sian Meinir; Victoria Simmonds (Mezzo Soprano); Owen Webb; Peter Wedd (Tenor); Kathleen Wilkinson
  • Conductor: Carlo Rizzi
  • Ensemble: Welsh National Opera Chorus
  • Notes: Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales (12/11/2006-12/15/2006)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Opera/Operetta