- Johanna Rusanen-Kartano (Voice)
- Petri Pussila (Baritone)
- Tuomas Katajala (Tenor)
- Jaakko Kortekangas (Baritone)
- Mati Turi (Tenor)
- Jorma Hynninen (Baritone)
- Hannu Niemelš (Voice)
Notes & Reviews:
This new release features the three-act opera Kaivos [The Mine] by Einojuhani Rautavaara (b. 1928). The patriarch of Finnish composers wrote the work in 1957 - 62 and considers it "perhaps the best opera I have ever written, a real thriller whose underlying theme - that a human being defines himself through his choices - is nevertheless universal." + A World Premiere Recording!
Hannu Lintu's forces perform with conviction. ... there is notable work from trenchant tenor Mati Turi as Marko, a hotheaded - and later wounded and delirious - young miner, and from fine, elegant-sounding bass-baritone Jaakko Kortekangas as the Priest.
Rautavaara's first opera Kaivos is a compact, though powerful work that communicates in the most direct way through its strongly expressive music and tight dramaturgy. Kaivos may well be Rautavaara's finest opera.
The singers have good voices, though Johanna Rusanen-Kartano's has that hard, steely-bright quality indigenous to many Scandinavian sopranos, and some of the men have an incipient wobble. The orchestra and chorus are superb. I think I might have liked the opera a little more if I'd been able to watch the performance rather than just listen to it; the choral passage at the beginning of act III is exquisite, and some of the best music to be heard, but a passionate music drama like this one sometimes needs the visual element. (I would add that the same applies to some Russian operas, even such a venerable one as Mussorgsky's Khovanschina.)
In sum, then, an interesting work to hear once, and for that I recommend it...
American Record Guide
This is obviously hardly great literature, and it makes for a messy libretto. The music is another matter entirely. Rautavaara's score is lyrical, romantic, and lush - thoroughly musical and completely absorbing. The notes rather simplistically bring up Berg as a model, but the music sounds nothing like Berg or anyone else even remotely Viennese. Instead, it sounds like Rautavaara writing a 12-tone piece, and I can't imagine a better compliment. I couldn't help thinking that if Rautavaara had chosen to spend his career writing 12-tone music (and I'm glad he didn't), he might have been the greatest 12-tone composer in history. Be that as it may, this is a fascinating document of Cold War angst, and the comparison between it and a work like Nono's Intolleranza (reviewed above), written at almost the same time, is more than instructive. Finnish-English libretto included. I hear no evidence of an audience. Singing is good, as is orchestral performance.
BBC Music Magazine
The Great Jorma Hynninen is in untarnished voice as the dictator figure. The commissar; the bass Hanu Niemelä is a dark Simon (the former partisan, an ambivalent leader of the rebelling miners): and the mezzo-tinted soprano Johanna Rusanen-Kartano a powerful Ira, his compromised lover.
BBC Music Magazine
The Mine of the title is a microcosm of both society and the individual soul - and its inhabitants are cast from strength. The great Jorma Hynninen is in untarnished voice as the dictator figure, The Commissar; the bass Hannu Niemala is a dark Simon...and the mezzo-tinted soprano Johanna Rusanen-Kartano a powerful Ira, his compromised lover.
Any cast willing to take on this dauntingly unglamorous music, and able to do so with such authority, commands rather more than respect. There is certainly some strain in the singing but also a compelling quota of dramatic truth and passion. Hannu Lintu's belief in the work shines through and he brings the Tampere Philharmonic with him undaunted...The recording fills a major gap in the Ruatavaara discography and fills it with distinction.
Recording information: Tampere, Finland (09/24/2010).
Submitted on 02/22/11 by Dan Coombs
Works DetailsRautavaara, Einojuhani : Kaivos (The Mine), opera in 3 acts (withdrawn; under revision)
- Performers: Johanna Rusanen-Kartano (Voice); Petri Pussila (Baritone); Tuomas Katajala (Tenor); Jaakko Kortekangas (Baritone); Hannu Niemelä (Voice); Mati Turi (Tenor); Jorma Hynninen (Baritone)
- Conductor: Hannu Lintu
- Running Time: 2 min. 59 sec.
- Period Time: Modern
- Written: 1957-1963