The time is now long gone when "proper" music lovers would look down their noses at Tchaikovsky. This attitude was prevalent for a number of reasons among which were first, how could anyone so popular be any good. Secondly his homosexuality was totally unacceptable in those bad old homophobic times when I was told by my music teacher at school in the 1960s that I would "grow out" of my high regard for T's music.
Tchaikovsky has thankfully now become widely regarded as one of the greatest masters of the second half of the 19th century. Most people are aware of his wonderful achievements in his orchestral and ballet works and may even be aware of the greatness of his operas Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades. Sadly, his other operas remain little known - a situation for which the record companies should be thoroughly ashamed. The current DVD under review, that of Mazeppa with a superb cast ably directed by Gergiev, will hopefully go some way to widen the audience for the lesser-known operatic masterpieces, for, make no mistake, Mazeppa is indeed a masterpiece - don't take any notice of what people tell you Tchaikovsky himself thought about it as he was notoriously over-critical of his works in many cases and on occasion destroyed the score after a first performance
The cast here is first class throughout with Nikolai Putilin as Mazeppa in absolutely superb voice. There is no weak link in the cast in my view; in fact I couldn't have enjoyed the opera more I think - except perhaps in the opera house. Watching the action on DVD certainly adds a further dimension beyond what one can experience on CD. I have the Jarvi version (DG) which while fine does not I think surpass the sound of this DVD version.
So, in summary, an excellent version in every way which I enthusiastically recommend.