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Anna Karenina
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Anna Karenina

Opera Theatre of St Louis & St Louis Symphony Orchestra
1 April 2009 | Format: MP3

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Song Title
Disc 2

Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 April 2009
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Signum Records
  • Copyright: (c) 2009 Opera Theatre of St Louis
  • Total Length: 2:19:35
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0028D4IOG

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Amazon.com: 4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
beautiful 20 Jan 2011
By gary bukovnik - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Finally a recording available of what must be one of the most beautiful of modern operas. Written in a contemporary and romantic tonal fashion, I was completely blown away by the power of the music and the composer's ability to communicate the story.
The performance is uniformly excellent. Taken from a series of live performances, the sound is brilliant and almost demonstration quality.
All in all I would recommend this to anyone. Listen ing to this also opened for me the other compositions on cd of David Carlson. I am now a complete admirer of this great living composer.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lush and Beautiful Modern Opera 15 Jan 2011
By A. Long - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a fantastic piece of contemporary opera. The music is consistently gorgeous, it compliments the story beautifully. The singing is excellent throughout and the orchestra is first rate. Everyone is sure to enjoy this piece.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Contemporary, but it's a real (neo-)romantic (middle-class) verismo opera 29 Oct 2012
By Basilides - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Perhaps this sort of thing should be called 'Romantic-Realism', but in any case this is an emotionally full-on contemporary mainstream opera, with an excellent cast. It's contemporary of course in the literal sense - and in my view this sort of mainstream descriptive style is just as contemporary as anything else, and considerably less questionable as regards its musical/dramatic effectiveness or validity - but also because there are elements of a superior thriller film-score with propulsive motor rhythms and close-intervalled two and three note figurations (sometimes reminding one of bells as in so much Russian and Slavic music). The use of something resembling motor rhythms also reminds me to some extent of the early John Adams style of minimalism, and of Prokofiev. And it is to the Prokoviev of some of his operas, especially 'War and Peace', that the style in general owes most.
On an obvious surface level the propulsive rhythms are justified by the subtly present sense in the background of the railway, and the train that appears in the first scene. Then we have a development from these to the equally driven sprung rhythms of the ballroom scene and then the racecourse scene. And of course inevitably we encounter the train again at the end. The intention and end result is to lend a sense of remorseless or driven inevitability to Anna's (self-destructive?) fate. After all, as has been pointed out by others, Anna is a modern incarnation of Isolde like so many bourgeois heroines of the 19thc novel, and the 'love-death' is required by the subliminal Gnostic theology - but being a modern story there is no musical apotheosis or 'transfiguration' in this 'love-death' as we would have had in the music of the last century.
The nearest things to this that I can compare it to, for the benefit of someone who hasn't heard it, would be to say that it's sometimes reminiscent of Barber at his most impassioned and romantic, but most especially of Prokofiev's romantic opera 'War And Peace', but there are no catchy tunes or leitmotivs as in W&P in this one. There are no repetitive Adams choruses either, as this opera too is clearly striving for dramatic/emotional realism.
There are even a number of scenes such as Levin's aria 'It's good to be here in the spring' (very similar to Andrei's aria at the beginning of W&P), and the ballroom scene, where direct comparisons can be made with Prokovief's opera.
I only wish there were more operas of this kind being staged, but these days commissions, especially in this country, are usually for something more avant-garde and/or emotionally alienated. So we are doubly lucky to have this on CD.
Thankfully American accents are not as noticeable as on some other US recordings of opera in English.
But having called this a neo-romantic opera I have to also say that there is a serious shortcoming to this work which will probably prevent it from finding a place in the repertoire, and that is the lack of a really appealing or memorable love duet. But at least there is a love duet of sorts, with a degree of lyricism, and it certainly fits the uncomfortable dramatic situation at that point and supports the opera's 'modern verismo' aspect. However, its lack of melodic appeal which prevents it from being the musical centerpoint of the opera is in my view a disappointment, and perhaps a crucial failure on the part of the composer. It is a possible reason why I might not return to this piece often despite it's dramatic power,and why I have deducted one star.
But there is at least the aforementioned love aria towards the end when Vronsky tries to reassure Anna that he still loves her: 'Selfish? You call me selfish?/Have I not sacrificed my life for you?'.
The most striking of all the passages for solo voice is the very beautiful and moving arioso about 10mins from the beginning in which Anna tries to convince her sister-in-law that her husband still loves her: 'I remember when he first saw you,/His eyes would shine with tears.'- this is ravishingly harmonised and orchestrated and as warmly recorded as one could possibly wish.
In addition there is a fine arioso section from Karenin (bass): 'She is strange tonight!/What is the shadow in her eye/That turns her face from mine?'
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
American Opera 31 Oct 2010
By ALFRED H. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I'm sure this opera will be popular with young people.Frenzied action, huge cast. Good, but pretty consistently loud, music. No recognizable tunes. The main problem is the libretto probably suffering from the fact tht the librettist died at about the same time as the opera was completed. There would not appear to have been much of the interplay that Verdi had with Boito, or even more infamously Puccini with Illica where the consistent theme was prune the story. I longed for Karenina, the cuckolded spouse, to sing an "El a gamai m'amo" or for Anna to sing the equivalent of "the letter scene". Virtually no musical painting of charachters, it was all action, ACTION, ACTION. Wow, she fell under a train, I missed that. Compare this opera with a somewhat similar dark story by Tolstoy, "Risurezione" by Alfano. Alfano's work is far superior.
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