I will not write about the music - for me, "Kitezh" belongs to the very Olympus of operatic and humanistic masterpieces. Luckily for us, opera lovers, there are many operas in the Olympus.
Concerning this recording, it is also very welcome decision to separate video from the sound. The director, Eimuntas Nekrosius, is my co-patriot. I have seen his productions of "Die Walküre" and "Otello" in Vilnius, and in fact this "Kitezh" follows the same ideas of his - the production is filled with various frustrating symbols, movements, gestures. Symbology has a profound effect, it deeply moves me, but not in such an annoying way. It is sad that directors, formerly unfamiliar with music and the Art of the Opera in general (and sometimes insensitive to it) are asked to make a production. Regie-theater saddens me deeply. Rimsky-Korsakov was very consistent in putting precise instructions in the beginning of the score, and our admiration for the Genius of Rimsky-Korsakov forces us to gratify these instructions literally.
Concerning the sound, I agree with another reviewer, Scott. The recording even catches some parts in the orchestra which are obscure or missing in, say, Gergiev's live recording (which is very good, too). It is welcome addition to Gergiev, Nebolsin and Svetlanov recordings. I especially enjoy here Grishka Kuterma (more restrained and not so emotional as V. Galuzin in Gergiev's) and Prince Yuri (having an amplitude as deep as Ivan Petrov in Nebolsin's). However, at some points it is worrying that chorus do not know the precise words, and at few places chorus and the soloist sing different verses, when they are supposed to sing the same ("Podnialasia s polunochi", and the song about "Brazhniki"). It is nice that archaic language was preserved, including church slavonisms. Though, it is not thoroughly consistent - choir sings "tsareva", "sestry", Feodor Poyarok pronounces "temen", but keeps "viorst" instead of "verst".
Summarizing, this is a very welcome release! Well, we still wait for a 5-star worth studio recording.