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Dvorák: Rusalka / Chalabala, Subrtová, Zidek, Haken

Release Date: 11/01/1998 
Label:  Supraphon   Catalog #: 13   Spars Code: AAD 
Composer:  Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Vaclav BednarJiri JoranIvana MixováEduard Haken,   ... 
Conductor:  Zdenek Chalabala
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre OrchestraPrague National Theatre Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 29 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

with Chalabala this is the story of Rusalka alone, of her desire for human love and passion, of her inability to obtain it and the tragic consequences. The various scenes with the Witch, the Gamekeeper and the Turnspit, not to speak of all the festivities at the castle are, as it were, a pictorial backdrop to Rusalka’s story... If Chalabala may seem incomparable in those very aspects of the opera for which it is most loved, he can give the impression that much else is just agreeable time-filling. (The fact that he died only a couple of months after finishing the recording may have something to do with its valedictory air; was his health already deteriorating?). Under Neumann the opera appears as an integrated whole. It is a more “modern”, Read more perhaps more “Mahlerian” interpretation. Chalabala has a stronger Rusalka but Be?a?ková comes into her own in the third act. Neumann’s Prince is a weakness but Chalabala’s is not exactly a strength. With equal honours for the Watersprite and certain minor, but important, parts notably superior with Neumann (Ježibaba, the foreign Princess) as well as warmer, more spacious recording, the scales would seem to be tipped very slightly in favour of Neumann. Strange. I set about my comparisons convinced I was going to find in Chalabala the stick with which to beat Neumann, but that I would prefer Be?a?ková’s Rusalka. It has been a salutary experience to have to revise my views so completely. However, the Chalabala does represent an incredible bargain, since it is on two budget price CDs as opposed to three more expensive ones.

The Chalabala set comes with a good essay in four languages, notes on the performers and, in a second booklet which I didn’t find till I had reached the second CD, is the libretto, also in four languages. The same translation has been doing yeoman’s service for both recordings over the last forty years; it’s a bit stilted (as my examples may have shown) but it’ll do. This is a recording which instilled in me a love for the opera which has so far not died; at this cheap price it will surely do the same for many new listeners.

-- Christopher Howell, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

Rusalka, Op. 114/B 203 by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Vaclav Bednar (Baritone), Jiri Joran (Baritone), Ivana Mixová (Soprano),
Eduard Haken (Bass), Milada Subrtova (Soprano), Ivo Zidek (Tenor),
Alena Mikova (Mezzo Soprano), Jadwiga Wysoczanská (Soprano), Eva Hlobilová (Soprano),
Marie Ovcacíková (Alto), Vera Krilová (Alto)
Conductor:  Zdenek Chalabala
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra,  Prague National Theatre Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 1961 
Language: Czech 

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