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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!, 30 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: Janacek: Jenufa (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
Well, this one takes a lot of beating.

The late Sir Charles Mackerras (he died in July 2010) was a superb man of music and theatre with a sense of drama perfect for wringing every last ounce of passion from this torrid and tragic tale.

Here, he is blessed with a stunning cast, headed by Elisabeth Soderstrom, who has mastered the complexities of Czech pronunciation so that you would never know she is Swedish - and the unbeatable Eva Randova in the role of her fostermother, the Kostelnicka. Those fortunate enough to have seen Randova perform this at Covent Garden will acknowledge that she is a truly great artist. We are lucky that the technology is good enough to capture the essence of someone like this so that posterity can enjoy them too.

For Mackerras's vigorous conducting, Janacek's original scoring is used, and begs the question 'why was it ever 'modified' ?' The sometimes rasping intensity is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat thoughout.

This is high quality indeed - a great performance of a great work, serving not only as a fitting monument to the composer, but also to the conductor.

A must.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad but not enough for reviewers to fawn over., 12 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Janacek: Jenufa (DECCA The Originals) (Audio CD)
Read reviews in the Grammophone handbooks and you'd think nobody else has recorded Janacek. I'm not a great fan of these Mackerras versions - they're good of course, but a Swedish soprano, an Australian conductor and a Viennese orchestra don't eclipse the many wonderful Czech versions of these operas. I don't particularly like Soderstrom, and the Vienna orchestra is rather - well - Viennese. It's all very smooth and the sound is good, but it's all a bit easy listening for these harrowing earthy operas. Just compare the "daleko siroko" group scene in Act 1 with Benackova/Jilek. Jilek is funky, full of character and the music swings with authentic folk feeling - unforgettable and life enhancing. Back in Vienna it's all a bit of a New Year's Day concert. I'll stick with Jilek in Jenufa - good sound, Benackova and it's the real thing. In Janacek that matters.
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Janacek: Jenufa (DECCA The Originals)
Janacek: Jenufa (DECCA The Originals) by Elisabeth Söderström (Audio CD - 2007)
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