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Opera In English - Janácek: Katya Kabanova / Rizzi, Barker


Release Date: 11/06/2007 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 3145   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Leos Janácek
Performer:  Jane HenschelCheryl BarkerVictoria Simmonds
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera ChorusWelsh National Opera Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Rizzi and his superb Welsh Opera forces now grace the Janacek canon.

This is the fifth Janácek opera in Chandos’s Opera in English series, and with vivid, well separated sound, balancing the voices in front of the orchestra, the first impression is how clear the words are from the singers of the Welsh National Opera production on which the recording is based. This is a very welcome companion to the outstanding English version of The Makropulos Case (4/07) conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras.

Carlo Rizzi, who conducted the live performances for WNO, is a comparably persuasive Janácek interpreter. It is fascinating to compare this version with Mackerras’s Decca recording (12/05) with the Vienna
Read more Philharmonic and an excellent, mainly Czech cast, Elisabeth Söderström taking the title-role. If that recording is marginally richer and weightier than the new Chandos, the strings of WNO play with comparable refinement. Rizzi’s interpretation in all three acts is a degree more urgent, with speeds consistently faster, no doubt reflecting his experience of conducting it live.

As in the English Makropulos Case, the principal singer is Cheryl Barker, fresh, clear and powerful, more girlish-sounding than Söderström. Jane Henschel is outstanding as Marfa Kabanova, the rich widow who persecutes her daughter-in-law, wonderfully rich and firm throughout her range. The three tenor roles are exceptionally well taken, even if the contrasts between Robert Brubaker as Boris, Peter Wedd as Kudryash and Peter Hoare as Tichon, husband of Katya and son of Marfa, are not ideally marked. Gwynne Howell as the merchant Dikoi, uncle of Boris, is also excellent.

The old Norman Tucker translation is used with some minor amendments by Rodney Blumer, nom de plume of critic Rodney Milnes, with words admirably clear throughout, adding to the dramatic impact of the piece. Another outstanding issue in the Opera in English series.

-- Edward Greenfield, Gramophone [12/2007]
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Works on This Recording

1. Kát'a Kabanová by Leos Janácek
Performer:  Jane Henschel (Mezzo Soprano), Cheryl Barker (Soprano), Victoria Simmonds (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Carlo Rizzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Welsh National Opera Chorus,  Welsh National Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919-1921; Brno, Czech Republic 
Language: Czech 

Sound Samples

Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Introduction
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act I Scene 1: Marvellous! Really, just admit it (Kudryash, Glasha)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act I Scene 1: What d'you think you're hanging around for? (Dikoi, Boris)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act I Scene 1: Is your mistress at home? (Dikoi, Glasha, Kudryash, Boris, Feklusha)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act I Scene 1: All of them so good and pious (Feklusha, Boris, Kudryash)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act I Scene 1: If you want to obey your mother (Kabanicha, Tichon, Katya, Varvara)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act I Scene 1: Intermezzo I
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act I Scene 2: I'm always wondering (Katya, Varvara)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act I Scene 2: Madness? Oh, how I wish I really knew (Katya, Varvara)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act I Scene 2: Ah, but you, what can you know of this? (Katya, Varvara, Feklusha, Glasha, Tichon)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act I Scene 2: Do you not love me any more? (Katya, Tichon)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act I Scene 2: It's time, Tichon (Kabanicha, Tichon, Katya)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act II Scene 1: There now, you're always boasting (Kabanicha, Katya)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act II Scene 1: It's so warm indoors (Varvara, Katya, Dikoi, Kabanicha)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act II Scene 1: No, no, no one, yet my heart was beating (Katya)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act II Scene 1: It's nothing much (Dikoi, Kabanicha)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act II Scene 1: Intermezzo II
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act II Scene 2: Introduction
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act II Scene 2: Nobody here yet! (Kudryash, Boris)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act II Scene 2: Far away my love is gone across the water (Varvara, Kudryash, Boris)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act II Scene 2: Is that you, Katerina Petrovna? (Boris, Katya)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act II Scene 2: So you've found each other (Varvara, Boris, Kudryash, Katya)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act III Scene 1: Raining! There's a storm coming (Kuligin, Kudryash, Dikoi)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act III Scene 1: Psst! Psst! Boris, listen to me! (Varvara, Boris)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act III Scene 1: Oh, Varvara! I shall die! (Katya, Zena, Varvara, Chorus, Kudryash, Dikoi, Kabanicha, Tichon)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act III Scene 2: Ah, Glasha! It's awful to think of it (Tichon, Glasha, Varvara, Kudryash)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act III Scene 2: No! Nobody here (Katya, Kuligin)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act III Scene 2: And yet death won't come to me (Katya, Boris)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act III Scene 2: Thanks be to God! (Boris, Katya)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act III Scene 2: No, not that! (Katya, Boris)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act III Scene 2: Birds will sing as they fly above me (Katya)
Katya Kabanova (Kat'a Kabanova), JW I/8 (Sung in English): Act III Scene 2: Hey there, a woman has jumped in the river! (Kuligin, Passer-by, Dikoi, Glasha, Tichon, Kabanicha)

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