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Kurka - The Good Soldier Schweik CD

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5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews from Amazon.com

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Audio CD, CD, 2 Sep 2002
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Good Soldier Schweik (43 tracks on 2 CD's) - Robert Kurka

Product description

Jason Collins (Schweik) - Marc Embree (Lt Lukash) - Kelli Harrington (Mrs Muller) - Buffy Baggott (Baroness von Botzenheim)... - Chicago Opera Theater - Alexander Platt, direction

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A modern operatic masterpiece 10 Nov. 2009
By R. Rockwell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I must thank the people of Opera Nights site or I never would have heard about this masterpiece of an opera. Robert Kurka is a contemporary Czech-American composer who co-wrote the libretto with Lewis Allen which based on the famous comic novel by Jaroslav Hasek. The opera is set at the beginning of WW I is Prague. Schweik who is half witted conforms to any situation he is placed is performed by Jason Collins n a very moving performance Kurka is a master of choral writing and the ensemble does a grreat job. Most of the sceness are farcical, there has to be a balance for all of that to pay off. There are two scenes that brought tears to my eyes both sung by Schweik when he sings about the human cost of the war machine and at the en when he sings : " I'll take quiet road and talks about smelling the roses. The orchestral interludes are wonderful especiaaly the furiant Highly recommended to anyone interested in opera.
Please excuse any typos I have a, neurologic disease.
5.0 out of 5 stars An adaptation both true to its roots and completely original 5 April 2011
By C. Lunde - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Robert Kurka, a Czech-American who lived in a large Czech-speaking community in Chicago for much of his short life, shows that he understands Jaroslav Hasek's famous character Svejk/Schweik perfectly in this operatic adaptation. Hasek's novel, though long, is unfinished, but Kurka's ending makes a lot more sense (and is more aesthetically satisfying) than the tacked-on ending provided by Hasek's friends after his death.

Which brings me to the main strength of this set: the dramatic action is wholly convincing, and the musical methods used to convey that action are fascinating. Jazz beats rub shoulders with polkas; furiants break bread with six-person ensembles; the haunting, ballad-like "I always thought the army..." perfectly complements Schweik's early (hilarious) speculations about medieval torture. The libretto is largely true to Hasek's text (though it's in English), which means it's funny and acerbic all at once.

The cast is uniformly terrific, but kudos should go to Collins's Schweik and Embree's Lt. Lukash, as well as to Alexander Platt in the pit--he navigates Kurka's mixed musical language with easy grace.

Highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Every Dog Has His Day" - Now Kurka's Engaging Schweik Gets His 24 July 2011
By Nicholas A. Deutsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This 1st recording of Robert Kurka's "The Good Soldier Schweik" (premiered in 1958 by New York City Opera) should win new fans for the piece, both for the attractions of its wonderfully quirky score & for the strong performance it receives here. An opera with a big "underground" reputation, it surely deserved to be committed to disc just as much as the other works that City Opera recorded back in the late 1950s & early 60s, e.g. Douglas Moore's "The Ballad of Baby Doe," Marc Blitzstein's "Regina" & Robert Ward's "The Crucible." Instead we had to make do with a "pirate" tape in dim sound.
Now we have this bright, sharp version, with outstanding instrumental work under Alexander Platt's energetic leadership & a strong ensemble cast made up largely of young singers, some just out of professional apprentice programs, along with a helpful sprinkling of more seasoned performers -- baritone Marc Embree outstanding in 3 roles. As Schweik, tenor Jason Collins negotiates Kurka's sometimes awkward tessitura (very high/very low) with great skill, & holds center stage gracefully. Only reservation: too few female voices for the 2 mixed chorus numbers in Act II.
Despite a long list of its musical influences - Milhaud, Weill, Stravinsky, Czech folk music, Gershwin, Copland, Bernstein, etc. - "Schweik" impresses as one-of-a-kind: the orchestral writing wonderful (wind band, no strings), the vocal less consistently assured - but Kurka might have made adjustments had he lived long enough to hear the piece on stage. Lewis Allan's libretto works fairly well, though compared to the novel it's a bit too genteel, and the level of verbal wit & skill is variable, no match for Blitzstein or John Latouche at their best. In the end, however, an opera stands or falls on the merits of its music, & "Schweik" definitely stands.
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