Commissioned in 1885 by Great Britain, Anton Dvorak’s The Spectre’s Bride had huge success immediately upon its premiere. The story is of a girl whose dead lover returns to lead her from her home, forcing her to leave behind her prayer book, rosary, and cross. When she is led to his open grave, she flees and is eventually saved by some churchgoers. At the premiere, Dvorak conducted a 400-voice choir and an orchestra consisting of 150 musicians. Many performances across Europe and in the United States followed, cementing Dvorak’s prominence and popularity across the English-speaking world. Dvorak himself wrote: “I just cannot tell you how much these British honor and like me! Everywhere, they are writing and talking about me, saying I am theRead more lion of this year’s musical season in London.” Here the work is performed by the Wiener Singakademie and the Orf Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Cornelius Meister.
Simona Šaturová is pure and innocent as the girl but thrills when she throttles up. Pavol Breslik is smooth and eager as her ghostly spouse, Adam Plachetka sage-like as the narrator. A nice little discovery.
There could be the dramatic skeleton of an opera lurking beneath the cantata veneer of The Spectre’s Bride, a work based on a poem about a young girl who is abducted by a ghost she believes to be the spirit of her lover. There are shapely solo contributions from the ORF orchestra, and certainly some very fine expressive singing from soprano Simona Šaturová as the girl and tenor Pavol Breslik as the spectre.
The Spectre's Bride, Op. 69/B 135by Antonín Dvorák Performer:
Adam Plachetka (Baritone),
Pavol Breslik (Tenor),
Simona Saturová (Soprano)
Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1884; Bohemia