Notes and Editorial Reviews
Despite strong competition from Mackerras/Fleming/Heppner, this Supraphon production remains the Rusalka of choice. Gabriela Benacková, whose purer, lighter voice is ideally suited to the unearthly title character, simply outsings Renée Fleming. Compare the way the two divas tackle the famous "Song to the Moon". Fleming is slower and more self-consciously "artful", while Benacková is simpler and more elegant of phrasing, the swifter tempo allowing her to mould Dvorák's arching melody in shapely curves. Listening to her you can't help but agree that this is the way the music sounds best. The same holds true for Wieslaw Ochman, who simply wraps his voice
around the text more fluently than does Ben Heppner, good though he is.
Vaclav Neumann's conducting is less contrasted, more "symphonic" than Mackerras', but it's also more keenly attuned to orchestral detail, and Supraphon's recording offers much more realistic and natural balances between the voices and orchestra. Certainly the Decca production remains both excellent and important, in that international singers should be taking on this repertoire fearlessly. In some respects it represents Dvorák's "coming of age" as an opera composer for an international audience, and on its own terms it's a huge success. I wouldn't want to be without it, but this very welcome reissue still goes straight to the top of the heap, and if you can't afford two recordings of Dvorák's operatic masterpiece, then get this one. [7/19/2003]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Rusalka, Op. 114/B 203 by Antonín Dvorák
Gabriela Benacková (Soprano),
Vera Soukupová (Alto),
Wieslaw Ochman (Tenor),
Drahomíra Drobková (Mezzo Soprano),
Jana Jonásová (Soprano),
Daniela Sounová-Brouková (Soprano),
Richard Novák (Bass),
Anna Barová (Alto)
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,
Prague Philharmonic Chorus
Written: 1900; Bohemia
Featured Sound Samples
Rusalka: Act I: "O moon, high up in the deep, deep sky"
Act III: "Insensible water power"
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