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Tchaikovsky: Mazeppa Import


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Product details

  • Audio CD (15 Nov. 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Deutsche Gramm (Ims)
  • ASIN: B000001GM8
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 190,673 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Mazeppa: Introduction
2. Mazeppa: Act One: Scene 1: No.1 Girls' Chorus And Scene
3. Mazeppa: Act One: Scene 1: No. 2 Scene, Arioso And Duet
4. Mazeppa: Act One: Scene 1: No. 3 Scene
5. Mazeppa: Act One: Scene 1: No. 4 Chorus And Dance
6. Mazeppa: Act One: Scene 1: Hopak
See all 10 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Mazeppa: Act II: Scene 1: No. 9 Prison Scene
2. Mazeppa: Act II: Scene 2: No. 10 Mazeppa's Monologue And Scene With Orlik
3. Mazeppa: Act II: Scene 2: No. 10a Mazeppa's Arioso
4. Mazeppa: Act II: Scene 2: No. 11 Mazeppa's Scene With Maria
5. Mazeppa: Act II: Scene 2: No. 12 Scene Between Maria And Her Mother
6. Mazeppa: Act II: Scene 2: No. 13 Crowd Scene
See all 7 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Mazeppa: Act III: No. 15 The Battle Of Poltava
2. Mazeppa: Act III: No. 15 Scene And Andrey's Aria
3. Mazeppa: Act III: Act III: No. 17 Scene And Duet
4. Mazeppa: Act III: No. 18 Scene - Appearance Of The Demented Maria
5. Mazeppa: Act III: No. 19 Finale

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 10 July 2012
If I say that I have a weakness for Tchaikovsky's operas that might imply that they have failings which need to be indulged but I don't quite mean that. It is true that only "Eugene Onegin" occupies a permanent place in Western repertoires but his operas are more highly regarded in his homeland and Valery Gergiev's advocacy has done much to revive their popularity.

"Mazeppa" is rarely performed here yet it has all the ingredients which make "Onegin" so memorable and successful as an opera: the libretto is taut and eventful as long as you accept the essential premise that a young noblewoman is inexplicably drawn to an elderly "hetman" (Cossack chief) and there are many moments of high drama and raw passion both individual and in ensembles, such as the duet between the desperate Andrey and the besotted Maria or the huge ensemble with which Act I culminates. It is based on the enigmatic historical figure who is the eponymous anti-hero of the opera and deals with complex issues such as political loyalties and betrayal, family honour and the nature of love. The one drawback is that Tchaikovsky does not quite hit the rich vein of melody which runs through his most popular opera.

The casting here is superb; starry names all, even in the supporting roles. The two Sergeis have quintessentially Russian voices even if some find Leiferkus's virile, biting baritone too youthful. Larin is that increasingly rare thing: a true spinto tenor and Gorchakova has a classic Russian soprano, dark, powerful and plangent without the classic attendant wobble which can sometimes afflict voices of that provenance. She is perhaps a touch too forceful to convey the full pathos of her final scene when she is in the grip of full-blown dementia, but it's such a huge, secure, thrilling sound she makes.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Jun. 2011
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A hetman is or was a Cossack warlord, such as Jan Mazeppa in the late 17th century and early 18th. What the real historical truth is about him I have no idea, as the sources vary hugely depending on which version of his life-story they want to promote. For present purposes we need at least to understand the plot used by the librettist Viktor Burenin with some input from Tchaikovsky himself, because if we go straight into listening to the action without this minor research the story will seem disjointed to the point of being downright unintelligible.

In act I Mazeppa is visiting Kochubey, chief magistrate of the Poltava district in the Ukraine. To Kochubey's horror the elderly Mazeppa tells him that he intends to marry his daughter Maria. Mazeppa's feelings for the girl seem genuine, but they are only part of his bigger agenda to obtain Kochubey's fortune as a dowry to finance his political plans. Maria herself is for some reason infatuated with her elderly suitor, to the chagrin of the young Cossack Andrey who cannot comprehend how she manages to prefer this old goat over himself. Kochubey's counter-strategy consists of telling the Tsar, Peter the Great, that Mazeppa intends to wrest the Ukraine from him. However this tactic misfires, and between the acts Peter turns Kochubey over to Mazeppa, who claps him in irons, tortures him and executes him. The execution is where we rejoin the action in act II. In fact what Kochubey had told Peter was perfectly true, Mazeppa had schemed with Sweden (again between the acts) to take control of the Ukraine, and the last act starts with the battle of Poltava, in which Mazeppa is routed. From this point the action is at least comprehensible, whether or not we think it makes sense.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Stellar performance! 23 Mar. 2000
By "tenor_in_training" - Published on Amazon.com
Recently all sorts of awards and praises have been bestowed upon Valery Gergiev's recent live recording of Mazeppa. While it is really good, I have to recommend this Neeme Jarvi's set over it. The main reason is innovative casting. Sergei Leiferkus at first appears to have too young sounding and too light of a baritone for the title character. But that's not true at all. His voice is ideal for communicating the menacing simultaneously with romantic qualities of the Hetman, a very complicated character one would love to hate. In contrast to rough all-out rendition provided by Putilin for Gergiev, Leiferkus is consistently noble and subtle, making the character an intriguing three-dimensional figure. The spectacular Kirov spinto soprano Galina Gorchakova sings his love interest, Maria, with passion and wise restraint of her very powerful voice to emphasize Maria's youth and impulsiveness. To complete the fateful triangle, Sergei Larin beautifully sings the role of ardent Cossack Andrei. Great Ukrainian bass Anatoly Kotcherga is Maria's father Kotchubey, his characterization is appropriately tragic and moving, particularly in Act II Prison Scene. And Maria's mother Lyubov is Larissa Diadkova, a rising star among mezzos with rich resonant sound, indeed similar to Archipova's, as the knowledgeable reviewer below points out. Even the small roles of Iskra, Orlik and Drunken Cossack are luxuriously cast: Richard Margison, Monte Pederson, and Heinz Zednik display complete understanding of Russian text and score.
This opera is the epitome of tragedy, even though it begins cheerfully. As soon as Mazeppa asks for the hand of his own goddaughter, the sequence of events progresses as a thunderbolt, pausing briefly only for the Hetman's passionate tuneful aria "O Maria". Not only did Mazeppa want Kotchubey's daughter, he also wanted his wealth, necessary for keeping up his large army. He resorts to torture and when the proud old man does not budge - to execution, keeping these deeds in secret from his beloved Maria. As the grizzly secret comes out, she blames herself for everything and her fragile mind is snapped after she becomes a witness to her father's execution. The opera's finale combines death scene and mad scene. As Andrei dies, (killed, alas, by fleeing Mazeppa), Maria tries to comfort him imagining he is her child. The atmospheric sounds of violins and winds make the lullaby motif eerie and unsettling.
The works of Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin were Tchaikovsky's lifelong inspiration. The operas "Eugeny Onegin" and "Pique Dame" are well known and appreciated. Somehow, "Mazeppa" fell into obscurity and had not been performed nearly as often, even though its source, the poem "Poltava", remains one of the most popular epic poems in Russian literature. Thus Maestro Jarvi makes a very strong case for it by involving Russia's major talents for this release. The Gothenburg orchestra is able to rise up a storm; the battle scene in Act III is stirring, much like the familiar 1812 overture. As usual, one can expect somewhat more intensity from Gergiev, but his cast, while very good, does not match Jarvi's "pound for pound." (Curiously, though, Gergiev also casts Diadkova as Lyubov.) Add crystal clear spacious digital sound and English, German and French translations, and this set becomes a definite First Choice.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Recording of among the best and the most authentic musical qualities Tchaikovsky had to offer. 6 Jan. 2000
By David Anthony Hollingsworth - Published on Amazon.com
As "Mazeppa" shows, as with his more popular "Pique Dame' and "Yevgeny Onegin" in my humble opinion, Piotr Illyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) proved to be a major force for the stage, and not just due to his masterful ballets. Indeed, his importance in the further development of the Russian opera is hardly less so than Rimsky-Korsakov's. And while most of the composer's operas remained mostly restricted to Russian audience, the appeal of Mazeppa is the quality of very fine music that poses serious challenges to the composer's greater scores. It, like say, the Manfred Symphony written two years later (1885), represents Tchaikovsky at his most honest, un-inhibited self, with such boldness and darkness in the score's personality. Part history and part romance (between Andrey and Maria) of abduction, political persecution, execution, and vengeful murder, it is based on Alexander Pushkin's epic poem "Poltava", which tells of the exploits of the hetman. There is an apparent nationalistic fervor in the opera (Act III's opening "Battle of Poltava" symphonic tableau, for instance), but this work is as personal as it gets (Act II is the most gripping of the three). While it is not generally deemed as a masterpiece, this opera will have you think twice, and rightly so.

Neemi Jarvi, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and the Chorus of the Royal Opera (Stockholm) demonstrate just how much they think of "Mazeppa." Nothing but utmost admiration is at presence here and the recording is by far a model one. What is equally significant and pleasing is the uniformly high quality of the singing. Galina Gorchakova (Maria) brings forth the warm, alluring sentimental and vulnerable femininity to her role, whereas Larissa Dyadkova (the Irina Arkhipova of the 1990s) is convincing in bringing out the maternal, perspective, yet anguished side as Lyubov, Maria's mother (Scene II, number 12 of the second act between her and Maria is electrifying here). Sergei Leiferkus portrays Mazeppa as a ruthless, deviant, love-struck old man with admirable conviction (if a tad short of Ivanov's hypnotic account in the 1952 Melodiya recording). Huge praises likewise go to Anatoly Kotscherga, who as Kochubey, Maria's father betrayed by Mazeppa, brings out the anger, vengeance, and deviance against his oppressors with utmost conviction and artistry (the monologue, influenced Boris Godunov that ends scene I of Act II cannot be any more earth shattering than it is here). Sergei Larin (Andrey) is passionate, while Heinz Zednik adds a rather sly humor as a Drunken Cossack.

Vasily Nebolsin and the Bolshoi Theater Orchestra and Chorus is ultimately thrilling in their vintage 1952 Melodiya recording, performing the very best of Russia's musical tradition. The authentic feel in their performance cannot get any better, with Alexander Ivanov (as Mazeppa), Nina Pokrovskaya as Maria, and Ivan Petrov (as Kochubey) as mesmerizing as ever. Unfortunately, there are small cuts made here and there in that recording, but the listening occasion is all the most special. That said, there is too much going for in Jarvi's Deutsche Grammophon (DG) album that is will be a shame to overlook it, especially given, other than the high artistic credentials so obvious here, the rewardingly penetrating, wide-ranging DG sound and Richard Taruskin's scholastically authoritative booklet essay.

You really cannot go wrong here.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Superior 11 Mar. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I can only recommend the two previous reviews as excellent analyses of this recording. I have two small reservations however, and both relate to Galina Gorchakova.
I wish to point out that I admire this soprano. She does not at all display the unsteadiness and wobble which is present in so many "great" Russian sopranos. She does, as one previous reviewer points out, have a large voice, which she manages quite well. However, her rich tone brings her character closer to the mezzo of her character's mother , Lyubov (Dyadkova). The two voices, though beautiful, are too similar. Dyadkova is quite within her role, however....Gorchakova maybe does not sound as juvenile as one would imagine Maria to be. Nevertheless, her interpretation is excellent.
The other quibble has more significance, but still does not detract from my 5-star rating (mainly because Russian operas are such rarities that a fine recording such as this deserves every encouragement): the famous final mad-scene lullaby. This is not in truth solely Gorchakova's fault but also Jaarvi's in that this stunning aria deserves a more sombre and meaningful interpretation. Subsequent interpretations (concert recordings) have left me with the unshakelable feeling that the aria was just a little too rushed.....but still, acceptably done. Here, I lament the wasted potential given such a great conductor and Gorchakova's lovely voice.
All in all, however, a definite winner! I cannot resist the temptation to make particular mention of Kotscherga's brilliant portrayal of Kotchubey. His excecution-scene aria is a moving tear-jerker. Well worth getting; if only it were more readily accessible........
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Cosmo Chaykie Goes Native . . . 4 Sept. 2011
By B.E.F. - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Cosmo Chaykie Goes Native . . .
*
It is strange that this most immediately appealing of Tchaikovsky's mature operas remains out of the main repertoire and largely unknown: for here we have much fine music, beautifully scored and sung, with distilled human interests of devotion, passion, honour, betrayal, politics, torture, greed, ambition, murder, madness, and pathos in a tale of the Great Northern War which found its turning point at Poltava wherein Peter the Great made Russia the superpower it remains today.
Involved in the conflict was a certain Mazeppa, leader of the Cossacks in Ukraine.

Stories of Mazeppa have inspired Romantic poets and composers from Byron, Hugo, and Pushkin to Liszt and Tchaikovsky.

In his Mazeppa, cosmopolitan Tchaikovsky deftly explores the folkish idiom of the musical nationalists Glinka, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Borodin.

Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa was very successfully staged and frequently revived until World War I; thereafter its complexion of elements was not congenial to the Soviet ethos.
Yet one can only ponder why this splendid work--(falling directly between Evgeniy Onegin and The Queen of Spades)--remains so neglected by the major companies: probably the simple reason is that Pushkin's poetry really requires native Russian (or at least northern- or eastern-European) vocalists.

Kalinnikov (who saw the original production in 1884) writes, `The music is so likeable and so amazing in its grandeur that in the emotional passages I simply lost track of my surroundings. Tchaikovsky carried out his musical ideas so well . . . . The public especially loved the "Battle of Poltava" [Act III entr'acte], proof of which was that it was played twice. The scenes are remarkably well expressed by Tchaikovsky.'

This performance by Järvi/GSO with superb vocalists Galina Gorchakova, Sergei Leiferkus, and Heinz Zednik is extremely satisfactory in every way, while DG's recording is excellent vis-à-vis microphone placement, ambience, and balance between orchestra and vocalists.
*
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Somewhat disregarded but full of typical Tchaikovsky passion 10 July 2012
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
If I say that I have a weakness for Tchaikovsky's operas that might imply that they have failings which need to be indulged but I don't quite mean that. It is true that only "Eugene Onegin" occupies a permanent place in Western repertoires but his operas are more highly regarded in his homeland and Valery Gergiev's advocacy has done much to revive their popularity.

"Mazeppa" is rarely performed here yet it has all the ingredients which make "Onegin" so memorable and successful as an opera: the libretto is taut and eventful as long as you accept the essential premise that a young noblewoman is inexplicably drawn to an elderly "hetman" (Cossack chief) and there are many moments of high drama and raw passion both individual and in ensembles, such as the duet between the desperate Andrey and the besotted Maria or the huge ensemble with which Act I culminates. It is based on the enigmatic historical figure who is the eponymous anti-hero of the opera and deals with complex issues such as political loyalties and betrayal, family honour and the nature of love. The one drawback is that Tchaikovsky does not quite hit the rich vein of melody which runs through his most popular opera.

The casting here is superb; starry names all, even in the supporting roles. The two Sergeis have quintessentially Russian voices even if some find Leiferkus's virile, biting baritone too youthful. Larin is that increasingly rare thing: a true spinto tenor and Gorchakova has a classic Russian soprano, dark, powerful and plangent without the classic attendant wobble which can sometimes afflict voices of that provenance. She is perhaps a touch too forceful to convey the full pathos of her final scene when she is in the grip of full-blown dementia, but it's such a huge, secure, thrilling sound she makes. Kotshcerga's slightly odd bass - it tends to blare - is wholly apt for portraying the proud Kochubey who suffers the tragic fate of betrayal, dishonour, torture, imprisonment and execution. It is indeed a grim opera, despite the lively dances and peasant girl choruses, and whereas we can empathise with Onegin, Mazeppa, despite his moving declaration of love for Maria (a companion piece to Gremin's great outpouring for Tatyana) remains ultimately unsympathetic and even repellent. Even the heroine's behaviour seems puzzling. Perhaps this partially explains the opera's neglect.

Järvi's conducting seems to me to be very idiomatic: he really captures the febrile, neurotic nature of Tchaikovsky's music as it veers between blackest despair and desperate yearning; no composer was ever more tragic and Järvi doesn't underplay the melodrama. His Swedish forces are superb, especially the committed chorus. It was smart to import an all-Russian speaking principal cast as the text is crystal clear and the basic vocal lay-out of the singers completely authentic-sounding. This recording, now made nearly twenty years ago, is as persuasive as we are ever likely to hear, superior even to Gergiev's less securely sung version.
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