Khovanshchina - An Opera In Five Acts
BELGRADE NATIONAL OPERA CHORUS AND ORCHESTRA / BARANOVIC
A first release on CD for the first recording in stereo (and entirely complete) of Mussorgsky’s tragic chronicle of faith, rebellion and repression in 17thcentury Russia. With this and six companion issues to be released during the course of 2018, Eloquence makes available for the first time on CD the seven complete Russian operas recorded in 1955 by Decca with the company of the Belgrade Opera.
Fresh from a successful tour of Boris Godunov in Switzerland the previous year,
the Belgrade Opera in 1955 was keen to make an impression on an international
public. At the same time, the Decca company perceived a cost-effective but artistically
assured opportunity to expand both its small but rapidly growing stereo catalogue
and its opera discography with classics of the Russian opera repertoire which
it had previously not been possible to record in the original language. In the
event, the stereo versions were held back for the US market. They were only
released in Europe in the 1960s, by which time the Belgrade Opera had acquired
an international reputation for excellence thanks both to the mono issues and
to the company’s tours of the major European operatic centres.
The role of Prince Ivan Khovansky on this recording is taken by Zarko Cvejic (1907-1994), a longstanding member of the Belgrade Opera who also sung the role at the company’s Edinburgh Festival residency in 1962. Cvejic is joined by other Belgrade stalwarts such as Melanija Bugarinovic, who also won acclaim as Erda at Bayreuth around this time, and Miroslav Cangalovic, an acclaimed Boris of his day, as the dignified leader of the Old Believers, Dosifey. The booklet for this newly remastered release prints both a synopsis and an essay by Peter Quantrill giving full historical context to the Belgrade opera recordings.
‘Zarko Cvejic; and Drago Starc are both good as the rival brothers and Du an Popovic makes a commanding figure of Shaklovity... The chorus sing magnificently and the orchestra, under a conductor with a most vital sense of rhythm, are first rate... The various effects... are all well carried out and the successful recording of the opera is a good omen for the Boris which is to come.’ - Gramophone, August 1955
‘Both Marfa and Dosifei are in good hands: Melanija Bugarinovi 263; possesses what seems to be a contralto of impressive quality and richness, while Miroslav Cangalovic... is a moving Dosifey.’ - High Fidelity, July 1970
Eloquence 3cds ELQ4826893
|Release Period||August 2018|