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Czech Opera Rarities / Ivan Kusnjer

Kusnjer / Czechoslovak Radio Sym Orch / Pesek
Release Date: 01/31/2012 
Label:  Supraphon   Catalog #: 4074  
Composer:  Josef MyslivecekJosef ZvonarFrantisek SkuherskyKarel Sebor,   ... 
Performer:  Ivan KusnjerPavel Horácek
Conductor:  Ivan ParikLibor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague SinfoniettaPrague Radio Symphony OrchestraPrague National Theatre Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CZECH OPERA RARITIES Ivan Kusnjer (bar); various Czech orchestras and conductors SUPRAPHON SU 4074-2 (76:10)


Selections by MYSLIVE?EK, ZVONA?, SKUHERSKY, ŠEBOR, SMETANA, DVO?ÁK, ROZKOŠNY´, BENDL, NAPRÁVNÍK, FOERSTER, OSTR?IL, FIBICH, PAUER, NOVÁK


Rarities indeed! Most selections are baritone arias; five are scenes that include other soloists, four have a chorus; four conductors lead five orchestras. To include everybody Read more in the headnote would have taken another half page and a forest of superscripts. The numbers are ordered more or less chronologically; five precede Smetana, eight follow Dvo?ák. It is perilous to attempt an evaluation of an opera, or its composer, from a single aria or scene. On first approach, one hears faux Haydn (Josef Myslive?ek, 1737–81) and faux Verdi (Karel ?ebor, 1843–1903), but that merely suggests our limited experience. The voices of Smetana and Dvo?ák stand out; one might not be able to name them in a blind test, but one recognizes the arias as the work of truly talented composers. Eduard Naprávník (1839–1916) was for many years conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre, leading the premieres of Boris Godunov and The Queen of Spades . His beautiful 1895 aria is thoroughly Russian, seeming to jump from one Tchaikovsky opera to another. Josef Bohuslav Foerster (1859–1951) also contributes a lovely romantic aria from a 1905 opera. Zden?k Fibich (1850–1900) was a superb dramatist as well as symphonist; his lyrical, surging aria is magnificent, making one want to hear the complete Hedy (1895).


These excerpts, three of them perhaps taken from complete recordings—the booklet is a bit coy on the subject—were recorded from 1984 to 2011. Ivan Kusnjer, born in 1951, is not always in the best of voice; the 2011 Vanda scene finds his 60-year-old baritone strained and shaky, yet other arias from that year are acceptable. The final seven tracks come from 1984, and his warm, colorful voice is resplendent. There are no texts with this disc, but a brief paragraph (English and Czech) sets the scene for each number. Although some of the music and some of the singing leave me cold, there is enough good stuff here to make this disc compulsory for everyone with any interest in Czech opera. If you don’t believe me, start sampling with track 9 and see if you can stop before the end.


FANFARE: James H. North
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Works on This Recording

1. Isacco figura del redentore: Aria Gamari by Josef Myslivecek
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)
Conductor:  Ivan Parik
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Sinfonietta
Period: Classical 
Written:  by 1776; Bohemia 
2. Zaboj: Zaboj's Aria by Josef Zvonar
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
3. Lora: Bohemunda Aria by Frantisek Skuhersky
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
4. The Templars in Moravia: Aria(s) by Karel Sebor
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)
Notes: V slunci lasky jsem se zhlizel - Zpravu ti prinasim 
5. The Brandenburgers in Bohemia, B 124/T 90: Tausendmark Aria by Bedrich Smetana
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)
Conductor:  Ivan Parik
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
6. Vanda, Op. 25/B 55: Excerpt(s) by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)
7. Lejla: Excerpt(s) by Karel Bendl
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
8. Dubrovsky, Op 58: Aria(s) by Eduard Nápravník
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
9. Jessika, Op. 60: O lasko, zdroji ziti by Josef Bohuslav Foerster
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
10. Vlasta's passing: Aria of Mojmir and Vlasta by Otakar Ostrcil
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1904 
11. Hedy: Lambro´s Aria by Zdenék Fibich
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1896 
12. Zuzana Vojirova: Vok's Aria by Jiri Pauer
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone), Pavel Horácek (Bass)
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
13. Karlstejn: Karel's Aria by Vitezslav Novák
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone), Pavel Horácek (Bass)
Conductor:  Libor Pesek
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra
14. St. Johannes Stromschnellen: Excerpt(s) by Josef Rozkosny
Performer:  Ivan Kusnjer (Baritone)

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