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Love For Three Oranges

Sergei Prokofiev Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 36.27 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Disc: 1
1. Prologue: Tragediy! Tragediy! - Kirov Chorus and Orchestra
2. Act 1- Scene 1: Bedniy sin - Kirov Chorus and Orchestra
3. Act 1- Scene 1: Igri? Spektakli? - Kirov Chorus and Orchestra
4. Act 1 - Scene 2: Mag Cheliy - Kirov Chorus and Orchestra
5. Act 1 - Scene 3: Moi zhelaniya vstrechayut prepyatstviya - Kirov Chorus and Orchestra
6. Act 1 - Scene 3: Kto etot chelovek - Kirov Chorus and Orchestra
7. Act 2 - Scene 1: Smeshno? - Kirov Chorus and Orchestra
8. Act 2 - Scene 2: Divertisement nomer perviy - Kirov Chorus and Orchestra
9. Act 2 - Scene 2: Divertisement nomer vtoroy - Kirov Chorus and Orchestra
10. Act 2 - Scene 2: Kha-kha Kha-kha-kha - Kirov Chorus and Orchestra
See all 13 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Act 3 - Scene 1: Farfarello! Farfarello! - Kirov Orchestra and Chorus
2. Act 3 - Scene 1: Veter stikh - Kirov Orchestra and Chorus
3. Act 3 - Scene 2: gde mi? - Kirov Orchestra and Chorus
4. Act 3 - Scene 2: Kto tut pishchit? - Kirov Orchestra and Chorus
5. Act 3 - Scene 3: Nu kak zhe nam idti - Kirov Orchestra and Chorus
6. Act 3 - Scene 3: Ya Printessa Linetta - Kirov Orchestra and Chorus
7. Act 3 - Scene 3: E - Truffaldino Truffaldino - Kirov Orchestra and Chorus
8. Act 3 - Scene 3: Da ya Printsessa Ninetta! - Kirov Orchestra and Chorus
9. Act 3 - Scene 3: Smeraldina...s bulavkoy - Kirov Orchestra and Chorus
10. Act 4 - Scene 1: Akh! Negodnaya vedma - Kirov Orchestra and Chorus
See all 12 tracks on this disc

Product Description

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Sergei Prokofiev's most popular opera is a swift-moving romp through a flimsy fairy tale of a king cured by laughter who magically pursues three oranges, from one of which emerges the lovely Princess Ninetta. Evil plots and machinations run through the farce, all of which is set to brilliantly orchestrated music. Written in 1919, the opera is frankly iconoclastic; Prokofiev mocked traditional aria-laden operas and pursued a modernism whose shock value is muted today, but whose inventiveness continues to fascinate. The nature of his chosen idiom, though, means listeners shouldn't expect many hummable tunes beyond the popular march. Much of the opera's success lies in stagings that exploit the limitless possibilities of the fairy-tale setting. Beyond its glittery surface, the opera's irony and mockery of the pretentious have contemporary relevance. Valery Gergiev leads a zestful performance, brimming with sparkling wit. The key roles of the king and his newfound beloved are well sung by Akimov and Netrebko, and the chorus and orchestra are first-rate, though the singing of some of the lesser roles is variable. Recorded live, the performance has a spontaneity rarely caught in the studio. --Dan Davis

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Audio CD
As far as I can tell, this is the first recording of wide circulation of Prokofiev's "Love for Three Oranges" (in prologue and five acts) performed exclusively by Russian artists under the Russian tongle. Before this recording, Virgin Classics recorded the complete version of the work by 1989, with Kent Nagano leading the chorus and orchestra of Lyon Opera. That highly successful recording, which is still available, is sung in French, something Prokofiev translated from the original Russian. The opera's success in the former Soviet Russia led me to belief that Melodiya recorded the complete edition of the work (probably more than once), though its chronic distribution troubles left us nothing but wondering.
Kabalevsky's "Colas Breugnon" comes to mind when hearing this theatrical masterpiece. Both works are extremely vivid and virtuosic. The spirits are high and the invention is admirable throughout. Kabalevsky's opera (of 1937, in the height of socialist realism) is more formal and traditional (not deplorable at all, please don't get me wrong) while Prokofiev's (of 1920, when the avant garde movement was taking shape) avoided the conventions of an opera, especially in regards to the chorus. The infamous march has its own shape, melodic appeal, and rhythm. However, the themes of the work comes and goes, with no development bestowed upon them at all while dramatically, the plot is unorthodox, affected by the intervention of various groups of spectators (the Comicals, Tragicals, Lyricals, Empty-Heads, and the Eccentrics). If that isn't enough, each of the groups have their own issues and agendas (towards the comic, the tragic, the philosophy, and the fun).
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The recording well-worth waiting, with exceptional music and performance. March 11 2001
By David Anthony Hollingsworth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
As far as I can tell, this is the first recording of wide circulation of Prokofiev's "Love for Three Oranges" (in prologue and five acts) performed exclusively by Russian artists under the Russian tongue. Before this recording, Virgin Classics recorded the complete version of the work by 1989, with Kent Nagano leading the chorus and orchestra of Lyon Opera. That highly successful recording, which is still available, is sung in French, something Prokofiev translated from the original Russian. The opera's success in the former Soviet Russia led me to belief that Melodiya recorded the complete edition of the work (probably more than once), though its chronic distribution troubles left us nothing but wondering.

Kabalevsky's "Colas Breugnon" comes to mind when hearing this theatrical masterpiece. Both works are extremely vivid and virtuosic. The spirits are high and the invention is admirable throughout. Kabalevsky's opera (of 1937, in the height of socialist realism) is more formal and traditional (not deplorable at all, please don't get me wrong) while Prokofiev's (of 1920, when the avant-garde movement was taking shape) avoided the conventions of an opera, especially in regards to the chorus. The infamous march has its own shape, melodic appeal, and rhythm. However, the themes of the work comes and goes, with no development bestowed upon them at all while dramatically, the plot is unorthodox, affected by the intervention of various groups of spectators (the Comicals, Tragicals, Lyricals, Empty-Heads, and the Eccentrics). If that isn't enough, each of the groups have their own issues and agendas (towards the comic, the tragic, the philosophy, and the fun). Overall, the Kabalevsky is comical, mixed in with some dramatic intensity (especially of Act II, Scene III where people scattered in fright once the bubonic plague hit the city of Clamency, 16th Century). The Prokofiev is satirical, fill with irony and fantasy, all admirably manifested in the Prologue and is something even Carl Nielsen would have greatly admired (his Maskarade is equally inventive, original, and witty).

Vsevolod Meyerhold, among the most eminent of directors in Soviet Russia, was the main instigator of the this operatic project. In searching for ways to revitalize Russian theatre, Meyerhold grabbed hold of Carlo Gozzi's "L'amore delle tre melarance", a play of satire, surrealism, and full with conflicting fantasies. Apollinaire, the French poet introduced the plays of Gozzi to Meyerhold, including this one, and along with Vogak and Solovev, Meyerhold used this play in introductory ways of expanding the theories of the theatrics beyond the traditions, in a journal entitled "Love for Three Oranges." Four years later, in 1918, Meyerhold, fully aware of Prokofiev's leaning towards experimentation (and ultimately towards the avant-garde movement in the 1920s), handed him the first issue of the journal and suggested that he use his own adaptation of Gozzi's play for an opera. It was in Prokofiev's suitcase when he left Russia for Chicago during that same year.

Meyerhold was right! Prokofiev was attracted to the amount of scenic and textual freedom the play allows and Cleofonte Campanini, the Director of the Chicago Opera Company, realized the potential of the operatic treatment of the play and commissioned it (the production of the Love for Three Oranges was scheduled for the 1919-1920 season). Originally, the Gambler was to be produced, but the score remained in Petrograd. Campanini died suddenly during the stage preparations of the opera and its production was postponed until December 31st, 1921, thanks to the Opera Company's newly appointed director, Mary Garden, a huge fan of modern music. A day after the premiere, conducted by Prokofiev himself, the critics torn it apart, but the audience of Chicago admired it warmly and the success of the work was assured in Europe and Russia after 1925. Astonishingly, Paris (arguably the center of the avant-garde movement) waited until 1956 to stage the work.

Needless to say, the performance altogether is flawless. Valery Gergiev brings out the sparkle and the wit of the score effectively and his rendition is with zest and finesse, responded admirably by the Kirov Orchestra and Chorus. The singers are extremely well cast, with the characters portrayed with plenty of vividness and artistry. Evgeny Akimov as the Prince is humorous with something of a defiance (even his whining never cease to amuse). Mikhail Kit as the King of Clubs is likewise fresh and strong while Larissa Dyadkova is attractively lyrical, not as tender and vulnerable as Lia Shevtsova in Ninetta.

I would hesitate to say that this issue surpasses the Virgin Classic recording of the work, with Kent Nagano every bit as creative and imaginative as Gergiev and with fine-tuned orchestra at his disposal. Having said that though, Gergiev's Prokofiev series is worthy of everlasting cherish and this issue is at the pinnacle of Gergiev's tireless efforts in promoting his operas. I now sense something of a revival of this work in veins similar to the Fiery Angel and War & Peace.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great set Jan. 26 2009
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This might be the best available recording of Prokofiev's most popular (at least most often performed) opera. I am not sure it is the best of his operas (The Fiery Angel is a strong contender), but the combination of the slightly absurd and sometimes genuinely amusing absurdist plot combined with Prokofiev's masterly handling of the orchestra, makes it a very satisfying work. There are no real arias or set numbers here, yet there are several instantly memorable instrumental parts (not least the famous march); the whole thing is hugely inventive and unconventional, yet immediately appealing and full of atmosphere.

Gergiev, opting for the Russian version, predictably takes a rather fierce view of the work; with lots of - indeed perhaps a little too much - urgency. But he draws some marvelous playing from the Concertgebouw and usually doesn't miss out on the subtle details of the score. The chorus is great - indeed, the chorus is one of the consistent strengths of the Gergiev Russian opera series, and they surely do not disappoint here. The singers are also generally excellent, including the minor roles, and special praise should go to Akimov, who gives an impressively varied characterization as the prince and is able to get the most out of this character with light, effective and humorous singing. Very strongly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars CITRUS GALORE July 15 2014
By andronicus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
SUPERB,INIMITABLE PERFORMANCE
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