AQVR 398-2
Recorded live from stage of Mariinsky theatre
May 8, 1951
IN STOCK NOW

Lyrical scenes in three acts (seven scenes). Libretto by K. Shilovsky†based on the novel by A. Pushkin

Onegin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ivan Alekseev

Lensky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ivan Kozlovsky

Tatiana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Olga Kashevarova

Olga . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Lyudmila Grudina

Filippievna, the nurse . . . . . . . Sofia Preobrazhenskaya

Prince Gremin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nikolai Konstantinov

Larina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Anna Mankovskaya

Triquet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nikolai Grishanov

Company commander . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N.N.

Zaretsky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . N.N.

Choir and Orchestra of the Leningrad State Academic†Opera and Ballet Theatre named after Kirov

Conductor - Boris Khaikin

Recording live from Kirov's (Mariinsky) Theatre, May 8, 1951

CD1 (67:29)

Act 1

Scene1

1. Introduction

2. Duet and Quartet

3. Chorus and Peasant's Dance

4. Scene and Olga's Aria

5. Scene

6. Scene and Quartet

7. Scene and Lensky's Arioso

8. Closing Scene

Scene 2

9. Introduction and Scene with the Nurse

10. Letter Scene

11. Scene and Duet

Scene 3

12. Chorus of Maidens

13. Scene and†Onegin's Aria


CD2 (70:00)

Act 2

Scene 1

1. Entracte and Waltz

2. Scene (Onegin, Lensky, choir)

3. Scene (Lensky, Olga, Onegin, Triquet)

4. Triquet's Couplets

5. Mazurka

6. Scene (Onegin, Lensky, Larina, choir)

7. Quintet and Finale

Scene 2

8. Introduction and Scene

9. Lensky's Aria

10. Duel Scene

Act 3

Scene 1

11. Polonaise

12. Onegin's Monologue

13. Écossaise

14. Scene (Onegin, Gremin)

15. Prince Gremin's Aria and Scene

16. Onegin's Arioso

Scene 2

17. Closing Scene


CRITIC REVIEWS:

ďThere are two studio-made recordings of EVGENYI ONEGIN with the great Ukrainian tenor Ivan Kozlovsky as Lensky. The first was made in 1937 with Melik-Pashaev conducting (and has been released on Naxos [OP0146]), the second in 1953 with Orlov conducting (released on Myto and Preiser). Both are classics, and serious collectors either already do or should have at least one of them. But what we have here is something very special, and also something we havenít had an opportunity to experience: Kozlovsky in a live, staged performance. I am not aware of any other in-performance recording of an opera featuring this superb singer. Although he was virtually the house tenor at the Bolshoi in Moscow, in 1951 Kozlovsky did appear at the Kirov Opera in Leningrad (now the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg). This recording has never been released before in any form of which I am aware, and one is grateful to Aquarius for securing it, and to Norbeck, Peters & Ford for making it available (www.norpete.com).

The sound quality is good - what Iíd call standard 1951 monaural broadcast sound, a bit constricted but rich enough to serve the orchestral and vocal colors well. The performance as a whole is excellent, conducted with both urgency and appropriately melancholy shades by Boris Khaikin. Olga Kashevarova is a lovely Tatiana, with a rich spinto voice that lacks the edge of so many Slavic sopranos. Her tone positively glows throughout the range, and she brings strong dramatic skills to the role as well. Her Letter Scene is impassioned, sung with genuine sweep and ardor. Ivan Alekseev also brings a warm baritone timbre and dramatic insight to the title role. He sang at the Kirov for 30 years, starting in 1945, and one can hear why he was one of their prime baritones, though his voices lacks the unique timbre and brilliance of Lisitsian.

But the central reason for this set is Kozlovsky, a unique artist heard in one of his signature roles. As good as his two studio recordings are, here he is enlivened by the presence of an audience and the momentum of a staged performance. His entrance is greeted by an ovation, as is his singing of Lenskyís big aria. The excellent accompanying notes tell us that the audience demanded and got an encore of that aria, but it isnít included. His singing of the aria encapsulates everything about Kozlovsky that made him so distinguished: a huge range of dynamic shading with an infinite variety between pp and ff, a limitless imagination for phrasing, and a remarkable ability to hold the audience through pauses that would kill the performance of any other singer. Many famous tenors have recorded this aria, but none compares to this account. It stands as a supreme example of vocal mastery. Kozlovskyís overall performance is more than just a magnificent rendering of one aria. Throughout, this is singing with a real face. Kozlovskyís Lensky is a believable young poet and a dreamer, emotionally full throttle at every moment. What we hear is one of the great opera portrayals of all time, preserved in the heat of a live performance. If the word Ďhistoricí applies to anything, it applies to this recording.

As for the supporting roles, Nikolai Konstantinov is a solid, black-voiced bass who sings Gremin with touching humanity, and Lyudmila Grudina is a rich-toned and credible Olga. Aquarius provides a nice booklet with notes in Russian by Maxim Nikiforov, well translated by Michael Weston. If this opera and great singing are things that matter to you, I consider this release essential even if you already have one or both of Kozlovskyís studio recordings.Ē

- Henry Fogel, FANFARE