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Russian Opera Masterworks

Release Date: 10/16/2007 
Label:  Bravissimo Opera Library   Catalog #: 9805   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Modest MussorgskyPeter Ilyich TchaikovskyAlexander BorodinNikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Maxim MikhailovMaria MaksakovaGeorgi NeleppElena Kruglikova,   ... 
Conductor:  Nikolai GolovanovBoris KhaikinAlexander Melik-PashayevSamuel Samosud,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre OrchestraBolshoi Theatre Chorus
Number of Discs: 14 
Recorded in: Mixed 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

For many, the heart of the opera is Tatyana, whose Letter Scene is at the emotional center of the piece. Thus, one appeal of this 1955 performance is Galina Vishnevskaya at the height of her powers. This studio recording, recorded by Melodiya, has been available before on compact disc, on a set issued by Legato Classics... This Russian set, after the prelude, begins with the duet between Olga and Tatyana, lustily sung by Vishnevskaya and Avdeyeva: clearly this will be an emotional performance. The voices are forward in the mix here, despite Tchaikovsky’s suggestion that the two girls are singing a duet within the house... Vishnevskaya is a near perfect Tatyana, if one assumes that Tatyana, despite her paleness and moony quality, is ready to Read more burst with emotion. Vishnevskaya lets hers explode in the Letter Scene, but is subtle enough to capture the wistfulness and essential sadness as well. She is also able to convey her relative restraint in the finale. I can’t particularly hear innocence in the voice, but neither can I in Tchaikovsky’s lush score. Belov and Lemeshev fulfill their roles well.

-- Michael Ullman, FANFARE
reviewing Eugene Onegin, previously released as Opera d'Oro 7066

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Works on This Recording

Boris Godunov by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Maxim Mikhailov (Bass), Maria Maksakova (Mezzo Soprano), Georgi Nelepp (Tenor),
Elena Kruglikova (Soprano), Eugenia Verbitskaya (Mezzo Soprano), Alexander Pirogov (Bass),
Bronislava Zlatogorova (Mezzo Soprano), Nikhandr Khanaieff (Tenor), Vassily Lubenzov (Bass),
Ivan Kozlovsky (Tenor), Aleksandra Turchina (Mezzo Soprano), Sergei Krasovsky (Bass)
Conductor:  Nikolai Golovanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Bolshoi Theatre Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: Russia 
Date of Recording: 1948 
Venue:  Moscow 
Eugene Onegin, Op. 24 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Andrei Sokolov (Tenor), Igor Mikhailov (Bass), Georgi Pankov (Bass),
Eugenia Verbitskaya (Mezzo Soprano), Valentina Petrova (Mezzo Soprano), Ivan Petrov (Bass),
Galina Vishnevskaya (Soprano), Larissa Avdeyeva (Mezzo Soprano), Eugene Belov (Baritone),
Sergei Lemeshev (Tenor), Nikolai Timchenko (Tenor)
Conductor:  Boris Khaikin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Bolshoi Theatre Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877-1878; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1956 
Venue:  Moscow 
Prince Igor by Alexander Borodin
Performer:  Vera Borisenko (Voice), Evgenya Smolenskaya (Soprano), Sergei Lemeshev (Tenor),
Mark Reizen (Bass), Andrei Ivanov (Baritone), Alexander Pirogov (Bass)
Conductor:  Alexander Melik-Pashayev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Bolshoi Theatre Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869-1887; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1951 
Venue:  Moscow 
Queen of Spades, Op. 68 by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Margareta Shervinskaya (Mezzo Soprano), Ivan Manshavin (Bass), Vladimir Politkovsky (Baritone),
Sergei Ostroumov (Tenor), Valeria Barsova (Soprano), Nikhandr Khanaieff (Tenor),
Bronislava Zlatogorova (Mezzo Soprano), Pantaleimon Nortsov (Voice), Alesandr Baturine (Bass Baritone),
Xenia Dzerjinskaya (Soprano), Maria Maksakova (Mezzo Soprano), Nadezhda Chubienko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Samuel Samosud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Bolshoi Theatre Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1940 
Venue:  Moscow 
Sadko by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Performer:  Victor Gorbunov (Bass), Vladimir Filipov (Bass), Larissa Andrejeva (Mezzo Soprano),
Vera Firsova (Soprano), Valentina Levko (Mezzo Soprano), Vladimir Petrov (Tenor),
Alexei Ghelieva (Bass), Nikolay Zakharov (Tenor)
Conductor:  Yevgeny Svetlanov
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theatre Orchestra,  Bolshoi Theatre Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1896; Russia 
Date of Recording: 11/12/1964 
Venue:  Live  Live - Moscow 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  5 Customer Reviews )
 4 out of 5 are classics May 30, 2013 By J. Tatnall (West Grove, PA) See All My Reviews "Four of the five operas presented here are Soviet studio recordings of the Bolshoi during the 40s and 50s. They are outstanding for the dramatic intensity of the singers and conductors. The sound can vary a bit, but tends to be clear, up close mono recording. The Boris, Igor, Onegin, and Queen of Spades have all been singled out for praise over the years. The Sadko is a live performance from the 60s and suffers the most variable sound. But the cast is good and Svetlanov is a dynamic and riveting conductor. You will need to find texts on line, but the price makes this a very worthwhile collection." Report Abuse
 Could have been better, but still excellent! May 2, 2013 By P. Ledesma (Wellington, KS) See All My Reviews "I appreciated the opportunity to be able to affordably obtain this set of operas, but even though there were some exceptionally good moments there were some wrinkles. Maybe we were being spared more drudgery when an act was omitted from the Borodin, but when even the so called HIGHLIGHTS are performed blandly and uninspired, I found it difficult at first to sit through more than an hour at a time of this music. The decision to provide scant synopsis information compounded that frustration. I hope that my suggestion for opera sets like this - to provide more detailed printable synopsis downloads for a nominal fee - will receive some consideration. Both Tchaikovsky operas were pretty good, and Rimsky's Sadko under Svetlanov was tremendously well done with the exception of some slightly irritating drop offs in the recording quality in certain spots. Many historical musical heavyweights make outstanding performances along the way, and when I put it all on the scale I can recommend the set with less reservation than my initial listening experience would allow. Not a superior set, but still pretty excellent!" Report Abuse
 Historic, idomatic performances April 29, 2013 By W. Snyder (Greenbelt , MD) See All My Reviews "One must always be concerned with old, often live performances remastered for CD and selling at bargain prices. In the case of this Bravissimo! Opera Library set of Russian operas, all from the Bolshoi Theater, the sound is generally very good, especially for the singers. And most important, these are historic performances by great Russian singers and players who perform this music better, or at least more idiomatically, than anyone else. I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated all five operas recorded on these discs." Report Abuse
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