This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Conjuring a strange medieval world where the human capacity for good and evil is trammelled on the one hand by necromancy real or imagined and on the other by the looming shadow of the Inquisition, these hair-raising operatic tableaux based on Bryusov’s symbolist novel can seem haphazard at first hearing. Make no mistake, though: 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; blistering Kirov brass
help to twist the screw that failed to turn in Neeme Järvi’s DG studio recording.
Gorchakova’s lustrous portrayal of the tormented Renata is her finest recorded hour so far. She lacks the last degree of hysterical edge and some of the middle-range beauties discovered by Järvi’s Nadine Secunde; but her unbeatable upper-register strengths make her a more companionable hysteric. 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
Works on This Recording
Fiery Angel, Op. 37 by Sergei Prokofiev
Sergei Alexashkin (Bass),
Konstantin Pluzhnikov (Tenor),
Valery Lebed (Bass),
Vladimir Galusin (Tenor),
Mikhail Kit (Bass),
Larissa Diadkova (Mezzo Soprano),
Sergei Leiferkus (Baritone),
Galina Gorchakova (Soprano),
Evgeny Fedotov (Bass),
Evgenia Perlasova (Mezzo Soprano),
Yuri Laptev (Tenor),
Yevgeny Boitsov (Tenor)
Kirov Theater Orchestra,
Kirov Theater Chorus
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1923/1927; Paris, France
Date of Recording: 09/1993
Venue: Live Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg
Length: 119 Minutes 0 Secs.
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