Rachmaninov's early opera Aleko inhibits the world of Tchaikovsky and The Mighty Five (although the former more than the latter). It is not a masterpiece, but still a mightily impressive, accomplished and interesting work containing several striking themes, numbers and arias. It surely deserves a place in the collection of any serious opera lover, and while I am not overly familiar with the alternative recordings, the one at hand can be firmly recommended.
First of all, it sports a fabulous Sergei Leiferkus, whose firm and steady and beautiful tone is full of character and depth. Second, Maria Guleghina is an expressive, expertly sung and steady Zemfira - I can hardly imagine this pair of soloists being much bettered in their respective roles. They are backed by a solid casting of the minor roles and a very good chorus, and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra is surely on top form. Järvi plays up the Tchaikovskian qualities of the work - full of drama, pathos and fire - and draws some marvelous playing from the orchestra (listen in particular to the brass, especially the snarls and braying in some of the orchestral interludes).
The sound is big and a little reverberant, but thoroughly effective in this powerful work. A strongly recommended release, then, of a very appealing work.