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The Complete Félia Litvinne and Selected Recordings by Natalya Yermolenko-Yuzhina

Félia Litvinne
Release Date: 09/13/2005 
Label:  Marston   Catalog #: 52049  
Composer:  Jules MassenetGabriel FauréCamille Saint-SaënsEduard Nápravník,   ... 
Performer:  Félia LitvinneAlfred CortotNatalia Yermolenko-YuzhinaDavid Yuzhin
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Aficionados will want this release for the rarity of the material, interest in the performers, and the magic wrought by producer Ward Marston in making these ancient artifacts listenable. Only 35 titles were recorded by Félia Litvinne between 1902 (with Alfred Cortot as piano accompanist) and 1911, and few survive in decent condition. Despite Marston's heroic efforts there's distortion and noise, the sound of worn 78s occasionally resembling distant artillery barrages. Better sounding, but still very far from optimally recorded, are the 18 arias sung by Natalya Yermolenko-Yuzhina occupying most of Disc 2.

Litvinne (c.1860-1936) was born in St. Petersburg, studied with Pauline Viardot-Garcia, and was an international
Read more star, especially popular in her birthplace. Her surviving recordings include a lot of duplication--works re-recorded usually in better sound and sometimes in better voice. Litvinne was a big-voiced dramatic soprano with a mezzo-like timbre and extraordinary range (think precursor of Eva Podles or Marilyn Horne). Her top can sound strained and "white" and she often exhibits problems with breath control that affect phrasing. She's best in French repertoire (oddly, there's only one Russian aria here, by Napravnik), impressive in Delila's "Mon couer s'ouvre" and Sapho's "O ma lyre immortelle" among others, but she's a notably unsexy Carmen and overwhelms songs by Schumann (three of "Ich grolle nicht") Fauré, Hahn, and Rubenstein.

Yuzhina (1881-c.1937), also a dramatic soprano, starred with the Bolshoi and Maryinsky theatres. Everything she sings here is in Russian, including credible performances of Elizabeth's big arias from Tannhäuser and three exciting arias from Trovatore and Aida. Her husband, David Yuzhin, joins her in two items that don't benefit from his presence. Yuzhina's in her element in the Russian arias. Lisa's grim soliloquy from Pique Dame is done with emotional fervor, and rarities from operas by Glinka, Dargomyzhsky, Naprovsky, Serov, Borodin, and Mussorgsky join four by Tchaikovsky, all sung with passion and idiomatic certitude, if not subtlety. Litvinne often sounds as if she's too close to the recording horn for comfort, but when Yuzhina, despite sounding farther back, lets loose with loud high notes, listener fatigue is a danger.

From what we can glean from this important issue, the recordings of Litvinne and Yuzhina justify their reputations, even if time, distance, and rarity have inflated them. As always, Marston's production values are top-of-the-line, with discographic details, full notes and bios of the singers, and a six-page producer's note on the original recordings and their transfer to CD. For enthusiasts, the plentitude of rare photos, some of them camp treasures, will be worth the price of the album.

--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Le Cid: Pleurez, mes yeux! by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano), Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
Date of Recording: ca. 1902 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: French 
2.
Les berceaux, Op. 23 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano), Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; France 
Date of Recording: ca. 1902 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Language: French 
3.
Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre ŕ ta voix by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano), Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; France 
Date of Recording: ca. 1902 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: French 
4.
Harold, Op. 45: Hush thee, dear one, slumber well by Eduard Nápravník
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano), Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Russia 
Date of Recording: ca. 1902 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Language: French 
5.
Songs (12) on Russian texts, Op. 48: no 8, Die Wolke by Anton Rubinstein
Performer:  Alfred Cortot (Piano), Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852; Russia 
Date of Recording: ca. 1902 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
6.
Tristan und Isolde: Mild und leise "Liebestod" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano), Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Germany 
Date of Recording: ca. 1902 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: French 
7.
Die Walküre: Ho-jo-to-ho! by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano), Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
Date of Recording: ca. 1902 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 1 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: French 
8.
Dichterliebe, Op. 48: no 7, Ich grolle nicht by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano), Alfred Cortot (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Date of Recording: ca. 1902 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: French 
9.
Tristan und Isolde: Mild und leise "Liebestod" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Germany 
Date of Recording: ca. 1903 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: French 
10.
Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre ŕ ta voix by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; France 
Date of Recording: ca. 1903 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
Language: French 
11.
Sapho: O ma lyre immortelle by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; France 
Date of Recording: ca. 1903 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: French 
12.
Les berceaux, Op. 23 no 1 by Gabriel Fauré
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1879; France 
Date of Recording: ca. 1903 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Language: French 
13.
Songs (12) on Russian texts, Op. 48: no 8, Die Wolke by Anton Rubinstein
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1852; Russia 
Date of Recording: ca. 1903 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: Russian 
14.
Dichterliebe, Op. 48: no 7, Ich grolle nicht by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Date of Recording: ca. 1903 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: French 
15.
Harold, Op. 45: Hush thee, dear one, slumber well by Eduard Nápravník
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Russia 
Date of Recording: ca. 1903 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
Language: French 
16.
Faust: Seigneur, daignez permettre "Church Scene" by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: ca. 1903 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: French 
17.
Die Walküre: Ho-jo-to-ho! by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856; Germany 
Date of Recording: ca. 1903 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Language: French 
18.
Le Cid: Pleurez, mes yeux! by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
Date of Recording: ca. 1903 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Language: French 
19.
Sapho: O ma lyre immortelle by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; France 
Date of Recording: ca. 1904 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: French 
20.
Les troyens: Adieu, fičre cité by Hector Berlioz
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: ca. 1904 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: French 
21.
Faust: Je voudrais bien savoir...Il était un Roi de Thulé by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: ca. 1904 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: French 
22.
Faust: Seigneur, daignez permettre "Church Scene" by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: ca. 1904 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: French 
23.
Mélodies (20), Volume 1: L'incrédule by Reynaldo Hahn
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1893; France 
Date of Recording: ca. 1904 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: French 
24.
Cavalleria Rusticana: Voi lo sapete, o Mamma by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1904 or 1905 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
25.
Lohengrin: Einsam in trüben Tagen "Elsa's dream" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1904 or 1905 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 00 Secs. 
Language: French 
26.
Dichterliebe, Op. 48: no 7, Ich grolle nicht by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1904 or 1905 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: German 
27.
Aida: I sacri nomi di padre, d'amante by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1904 or 1905 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: French 
28.
L'Africaine: Sur mes genoux by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1904 or 1905 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: French 
29.
Samson et Dalila, Op. 47: Mon coeur s'ouvre ŕ ta voix by Camille Saint-Saëns
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; France 
Date of Recording: 1910-1911 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: French 
30.
La Favorita: O mio Fernando by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1910-1911 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: French 
31.
Il trovatore: Tacea la notte placida...Di tale amor by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1910-1911 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: French 
32.
Il trovatore: D'amor sull' ali rosee by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1910-1911 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Language: French 
33.
Carmen: L'amour est un oiseau rebelle "Habańera" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Written: 1873-1874 
Date of Recording: 1910-1911 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: French 
34.
L'Africaine: Sur mes genoux by Giacomo Meyerbeer
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1910-1911 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Language: French 
35.
Le Cid: Pleurez, mes yeux! by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Félia Litvinne (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; France 
Date of Recording: 1910-1911 
Venue:  Paris, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Language: French 
36.
Tannhäuser: Dich, teure Halle by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1909 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
37.
Tannhäuser: Allmächt'ge Jungfrau "Elisabeth's Prayer" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1909 
Length: 3 Minutes 1 Secs. 
38.
Il trovatore: Tacea la notte placida...Di tale amor by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 10/28/1911 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
39.
Aida: Ritorna vincitor! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 2/6/1909 
Length: 4 Minutes 5 Secs. 
40.
Aida: Fuggiam gli ardori inospiti by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano), David Yuzhin (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Italy 
Date of Recording: 7/1908 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
41.
La Gioconda: Suicidio! by Amilcare Ponchielli
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1876; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1908 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
42.
Mefistofele: Lontano, lontano by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano), David Yuzhin (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1908 
Length: 2 Minutes 18 Secs. 
43.
Russlan and Ludmilla: O my Ratmir! "Gorislava's Romance and Cavatina" by Mikhail Glinka
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837-1842; Russia 
Date of Recording: 2/6/1909 
Length: 2 Minutes 56 Secs. 
44.
Rusalka: Through the rushes by Alexander Dargomizhsky
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848-1855; Russia 
Date of Recording: 2/3/1910 
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
45.
Judith: I shall don my robe for byssus by Alexander N. Serov
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 2/8/1909 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
46.
Rogneda: The blue sea moaned by Alexander N. Serov
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863-1865; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1908 
Length: 2 Minutes 30 Secs. 
47.
Prince Igor: For long past "Yaroslavna's Aria" by Alexander Borodin
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1869-1887; Russia 
Date of Recording: 2/3/1910 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
48.
Sorochintsy fair: Aria(s) by Modest Mussorgsky
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874-1880; Russia 
Date of Recording: 2/1/1910 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
49.
The oprichnik: A nightingale sang in the oak tree by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1870-1872; Russia 
Date of Recording: 10/31/1911 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
50.
Mazeppa: Sleep, my little one by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881-1883; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1908 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
51.
The Enchantress: Looking down from Nizhni by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Date of Recording: 1908 
Length: 3 Minutes 48 Secs. 
52.
Queen of Spades, Op. 68: Midnight is nearing (Lisa's Aria) by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1908 
Length: 3 Minutes 00 Secs. 
53.
Dubrovsky, Op 58: Masha's Aria by Eduard Nápravník
Performer:  Natalia Yermolenko-Yuzhina (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; Moravia, Czech Repub 
Date of Recording: 2/6/1909 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 

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