This new release features the three-act opera Kaivos (The Mine, 1962) by Einojuhani Rautavaara. The patriarch of Finnish composers wrote this, his first opera, in 1957 62 and today considers it, perhaps the best opera I have ever written, a real thriller whose underlying theme that a human being defines himself through his choices is nevertheless universal. This CD release represents an apogee in the work's exceptional history: the opera's underlying thematic allusions to the 1956 Hungarian uprising impeded a staged performance in Finland, a neighboring country of the then Soviet Union. Instead, a Finnish TV production was broadcast in 1963. The first live (concert) performance in Tampere (Finland) in September 2010 featured the same cast and performers as this première CD recording. Legendary baritone Jorma Hynninen (lead role Commissar ), who celebrates his 70th anniversary in 2011, has starred in a number of Finnish operas since the 1970s to great international success, including at the MET in New York. Acclaimed conductor Hannu Lintu leads the reputed Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra on this disc. Disc also includes complete synopsis, libretto and English translation.
Einojuhani Rautavaara's first opera,which he regards as his best,could not have surfaced at a more timely moment.This 75-minute,three act dramatic parable,inspired by the 1956 Hungarian uprising,resonates with all the ambiguities of the 'ruthless claims of freedom'surging the Middle East today. Performance ***** Recording **** BBC MUSIC OPERA CHOICE --BBC Music Magazine,May'11
This recording fills a major gap in the Rautavarra discography and fills it with distinction. --Gramophone,June'11
The work is marvellously served by a series of outstanding performances….we are indebted to Ondine for having issued so superlative a recording. --Opera,Jan'12
The work is marvellously served by a series of outstanding performances. --Opera,Jan'12