This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
This was the first stereo Jenufa - a fine performance that included some of the greatest Czech singers of the day in roles they knew and loved deeply.
In the quarter of a century since this recording was issued, appreciation of Janacek has come far. This was the first stereo Jenufa, produced as a joint recording between HMV and Supraphon; it pioneered the way for many more Janacek recordings to come from Czechoslovakia, and perhaps served to encourage Decca to their superb series under Sir Charles Mackerras.
This set is now something of a period piece, and that unfortunately extends to a less than distinguished recording, with a good deal of the detail obscure. There has also been substantial scholarly
work on the score done since then to clarify and restore much: the issues are set out by John Tyrrell in his notes to the Decca recording. That must remain, for the foreseeable future, the version to recommend. But it should not be overlooked that the HMV/Supraphon did much to draw attention to Janacek's greatness as an opera composer, for many who had had little opportunity to discover this masterpiece in any other way. It was also a fine performance that included some of the greatest Czech singers of the day in roles they knew and loved deeply.
Nadeza Kniplova is a strong but by no means inflexible Kostelnicka, stern in her adherence to her moral code until she feels impelled to break it for the deepest human reasons. Her voice is strong and resonant; it is a heroic performance. Libuse Domaninska is a tender Jenufa, vulnerable near the start but also in her own way deepening in human understanding as the drama develops; and her response to the music at the end, as she forgives the Kostelnicka and takes Laca, is true to Janacek's soaring melodic phrases. Steva is sung with light cheerfulness by Ivo Zidek, Laca with fervour and, again, a deepening sense of understanding, by Vilem Pribyl. Tarty little Karolka gets nowhere in understanding, as Marta Bohackova suggests: Steva deserves her. The smaller parts are taken with no less care and effectiveness. Newcomers to the work will do well to head for the Mackerras on Decca; but old Janacek hands treasure this set, and it is welcome back.
-- John Warrack, Gramophone [12/1995]
Works on This Recording
Jenufa by Leos Janácek
Libuse Domaninská (Soprano),
Ivo Zidek (Tenor),
Vilém Pribyl (Tenor),
Nadezda Kniplova (Soprano)
Prague National Theatre Orchestra,
Prague National Theatre Chorus
Period: 20th Century
Written: Brno, Czech Republic
Date of Recording: 1969
Notes: Composition written: Brno, Czech Republic (1894 - 1903).
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