Mussorgsky - Khovanshchina / Nesterenko, Vedernikov, Arkhipova, Simonov, Bolshoi Opera
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Khovanschina is an opera in 5 acts by Mussorgsky, completed and orchestrated by Rimsky-Korsakov. Libretto by the composer and Vladimir Stasov. First performed St. Petersburg, 21 Feb. 1886. Khovanschina is one of Russian opera's infrequently performed masterpieces, a work which has been gaining steadily in popularity in recent years. "The Khovansky Uprising" (as the title is often translated) is a sprawling tale of the struggle for power in Russia at the beginning of the reign of Peter The Great. This performance, taped "live" at the Bolshoi Opera in 1979, stars the great Russian bass Yevgeni Nesterenko as Dosifei, the Old Believer at religious and psychological war with the new order, led by Prince Ivan Khovansky. The manipulative Khovansky is powerfully portrayed here by Alexander Vedernikov, another of the world's great basses, little known outside of the Soviet Union. Marfa, one of Dosifei's followers and a fortune teller, is sung by the legendary mezzo-soprano Irina Arkhipova in a performance of great authority and dignity. Russian opera at the Bolshoi is the genuine article, and a remainder of the cast is equally impressive, from the mistrusting Prince Galitsyn of Evgeny Raikov to the clever, informing Shaklovity of Vladislav Romanovsky.
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The ability of the performers to "act" is variable, but acceptable.
English subtitles are automatic (and somewhat "modern"). No other languages offered.
Yes, there are many technical problems with this DVD and many other little things to find fault with but I cherish this album to hear one of the greatest basses in my memory: Evgeny Nesterenko. Only Boris Christof comes close.
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