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Prokofiev: 6 Operas / Gergiev, Kirov Opera

Release Date: 03/30/2010 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001406802  
Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Yuri ShkliarEvgeny AkimovSergei AlexashkinMarianna Tarasova,   ... 
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kirov Theater OrchestraKirov Theater Chorus
Number of Discs: 14 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

6 complete operas on 14 CDs featuring the Kirov Opera and Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre — Betrothal in a Monastery, The Fiery Angel, The Gambler, Love for Three Oranges, Semyon Kotko and War and Peace.

Praise for the original recordings which make up this set:

Love for Three Oranges
"Valery Gergiev and his splendid Russian cast predictably and correctly opt for the Russian text and they rip into it with gusto. Mikhail Kit is a noble King of Clubs, mezzo Larissa Diadkova a particularly nasty Princess Clarissa (the heir-aspirant), and the various courtiers, demons, and minor figures like the giant (shades of Jack and the Beanstalk) are done with broad humor that never goes over
Read more the top. Most impressive is tenor Evgeny Akimov as the prince whose demise is planned at one point to be accomplished by "a diet of tragic prose" and "horribly indigestible verses" intended to induce him to "expire in a hypochondriac nightmare." Akimov is as funny as the whining prince of Act 1 as he is the ardent lover of the later scenes, using his light tenor to compelling effect in both. The chorus, split to represent the Tragicals, Comicals, Empty Heads, and Eccentrics who set the whole play-within-a-play into motion, is excellent. The orchestra is superb as is the engineering, from Amsterdam's Concertgebouw. The Kirov's valuable Prokofiev opera series has another winner."
--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com

Semyon Kotko
"As we've come to expect from their Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and other Prokofiev opera recordings the Kirov Opera Orchestra and Chorus are peerlessly authentic in this repertoire, and Valery Gergiev proves himself a master at wielding these big pieces. Philips is finally providing the first-class sound these performers deserve--clear, wide-ranging and well balanced. Fans of Russian opera won't need my recommendation. However, if you love Prokofiev's music but have never heard any of his operas, I urge you to give this a try."
--Victor Carr, ClassicsToday.com

Betrothal in a Monastery
"Gergiev boasts a nimble ensemble, with one voice of true distinction and colour in Marianna Tarassova’s Clara. The live recording certainly helps with the sense of pace and Gergiev creates an extra frisson as Prokofiev unleashes the full orchestra in later scenes. this [recording] brings the comedy and the romance to life."
-- BBC Music Magazine

The Fiery Angel
"Prokofiev’s infernal machinery is finely tuned, and it takes the impeccable timing of Valery Gergiev in the equally vital context of a live performance to show us how this unrelenting study in ambiguous obsession so carefully packs its punches. The fraught counterpoint of thrashing orchestral climaxes, when the demons that plague heroine Renata have their high noon, is expansively negotiated.

Gorchakova’s lustrous portrayal of the tormented Renata is her finest recorded hour so far. Leiferkus plays her long-suffering knight straight, with blunt humour; his strange meetings with supernatural traffickers – among them Pluzhnikov’s frighteningly coarse Mephistopheles – have all the vividness of scenes from Mussorgsky. That, of course, was part of Prokofiev’s point, and in this magnificent piece of Petersburg teamwork his most disturbing masterpiece returns decisively to the Russian tradition it so singularly follows."
-- David Nice, BBC Music Magazine

War and Peace
"Having drilled the Kirov Orchestra in every one of the short, rounded phrases which are the threads and fibre of Prokofiev’s heartfelt tribute to Tolstoy, Gergiev uses the continuity of Graham Vick’s staging to drive the narrative forward across the 13 scenes. Yelena Prokina as Natasha gives a radiant performance on stage, touching hands movingly with Gegam Gregoriam’s ardent Pierre in the tense, heart-in-mouth sixth scene... the long and difficult scene of Moscow’s burning shows the Kirov ensemble flame at its brightest.
-- David Nice, BBC Music Magazine

The Gambler
"The Gambler is a somewhat specialized experience. It demands a double act of empathy on the part of the western listener. One to engage with a little-known musical tradition where 'normal' operatic expectations are deliberately not gratified; and a further one, perhaps easier, to sense the powerful affinity of the Russian soul with the act of gambling, which it looks on not judgmentally or with reprehension, but as symbolic of self-destructive obsession, the workings of Fate, and more. For anyone willing and able to make those leaps, this new recording should be a compelling experience. Gergiev here confirms the justness of all the superlatives that have been lavished on him, and his orchestra play like beings possessed, which is the only way to do justice to a piece like this. The sense of impending doom is powerfully conveyed, and in the big gambling scene of Act 4 the tension is screwed up to an extraordinary pitch."
-- DJF, Gramophone

Full Review:

It’s easy to disparage Prokofiev’s efforts as an opera composer, but when you actually listen to these works you can’t help but be impressed by their emotional range, quality of workmanship, and ambitious diversity of subject matter. Three of them—The Love for Three Oranges, The Fiery Angel, and War and Peace—have entered the modern repertoire, largely thanks to Gergiev, while The Gambler deserves to as well. Betrothal in a Monastery, based on Sheridan’s The Duenna, is the real discovery here, a lively and entertaining comedy that’s thankfully free of either socialist realist bombast or subversive philosophizing (except to the extent that all comedy is inherently subversive). I do have a preference for Rostropovich’s recording of War and Peace, but basically these performances, where competition exists at all, are as good as any out there, and despite the lack of librettos (really a shame) this set is a great deal for the money.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

New booklet introductory essay by Andrew Huth.
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Works on This Recording

Betrothal in a Monastery, Op. 86 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Yuri Shkliar (), Evgeny Akimov (Tenor), Sergei Alexashkin (Bass),
Marianna Tarasova (Mezzo Soprano), Ludmila Kassianenko (Mezzo Soprano), Anna Netrebko (Soprano),
Nikolai Gassiev (Tenor), Alexandr Gergalov (Baritone), Vladimir Vaneev (Bass),
Liubov Sokolova (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kirov Theater Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940-1941; USSR 
Fiery Angel, Op. 37 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Yuri Laptev (Tenor), Evgeny Fedotov (Bass), Galina Gorchakova (Soprano),
Sergei Leiferkus (Baritone), Larissa Diadkova (Mezzo Soprano), Vladimir Galusin (Tenor),
Valery Lebed (Bass), Konstantin Pluzhnikov (Tenor), Sergei Alexashkin (Bass),
Mikhail Kit (Baritone), Yevgeny Boitsov (Tenor)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kirov Theater Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923/1927; Paris, France 
Gambler, Op. 24 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Yuri Laptev (Tenor), Andrei Khramstov (Bass), Victor Vikhrov (Tenor),
Marianna Tarasova (Mezzo Soprano), Valery Lebed (Bass), Nikolai Gassiev (Tenor),
Luba Kazarnovskaya (Soprano), Elena Obraztsova (Mezzo Soprano), Vladimir Galusin (Tenor),
Sergei Alexashkin (Bass)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kirov Theater Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917/1928; USSR 
Love for Three Oranges, Op. 33 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Mikhail Kit (Baritone), Vladimir Vaneev (Bass), Zlata Bulycheva (Mezzo Soprano),
Konstantin Pluzhnikov (Tenor), Grigory Karasev (Bass), Fyodor Kuznetsov (Bass),
Larissa Schevtchenko (Soprano), Vassily Gerelo (Baritone), Lia Shevtsova (Soprano),
Yuri Zhikalov (Tenor), Larissa Diadkova (Mezzo Soprano), Alexandr Morozov (Baritone),
Anna Netrebko (Soprano), Olga Korzhenskaya (Mezzo Soprano), Evgeny Akimov (Tenor)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kirov Theater Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; USA 
Semyon Kotko, Op. 81 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Evgeny Akimov (Tenor), Viktor Chernomortsev (), Ludmilla Filatova (Mezzo Soprano),
Olga Savova (Soprano), Tatiana Pavlovskaya (Soprano), Genadij Bezzubenkov (Bass),
Olga Markova-Mikhailenko (Alto), Evgeny Nikitin (Baritone), Yuri Laptev (Tenor),
Viktor Lutsiuk (Tenor), Grigory Karasev (Bass), Ekaterina Solovieva (Soprano),
Nikolai Gassiev (Tenor)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kirov Theater Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USSR 
War and Peace, Op. 91 by Sergei Prokofiev
Performer:  Grigory Karasev (Bass), Nikolai Gassiev (Tenor), Mikhail Chernozhukov (Bass),
Irina Bogachova (Mezzo Soprano), Maria Gortsievskaja (Mezzo Soprano), Georgi Zastavnij (Baritone),
Genadij Bezzubenkov (Bass), Yuri Marusin (Tenor), Nikolai Okhotnikov (Bass),
Olga Borodina (Mezzo Soprano), Alexandr Morozov (Baritone), Yelena Prokina (Soprano),
Ivan Volodin (Tenor), Svetlana Volkova (Soprano), Andrei Khramstov (Bass),
Evgeny Fedotov (Bass), Alexandr Shubin (Bass)
Conductor:  Valery Gergiev
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kirov Theater Orchestra,  Kirov Theater Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943/1952; USSR 

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