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Martinu: Julietta,(A Dream-book)
Bohuslav Martinu, Jaroslav Krombholc, Antonin Votava
Martinu: Julietta,(A Dream-book)
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #3


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Good recording, but beware
Matthew Wallis | Iowa City | 10/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This review is for non-experts; those familiar with Martinu, his music, and his operas in particular will not need this review. If you are casually interested, however, or an opera fan (in general) looking to explore new repertoire, this review is for you.

This is an excellent recording, beautifully realised, well enough transferred (I have not yet listened to it on really high quality hardware). There is no reason at all to shy away from this because it is elderly. The cast is a A list of Czech singers from an earlier generation, and as such, has no weak link.

The word of caution is in the subject matter. The sub-title of this opera is "dreambook", and it is truly a setting of a dream. As such, it is dramaturgically ambitious, and Martinu made it coherent enough for those prepared to accept it for what it is, and take the trouble to find out what is going on. If you do this, it works; and the ending will surprise, amuse and horrify you. If you don't it will bewilder you.

Of course, there are opera fans in the world for whom plot is nothing and presentation is all. For you, I cannot tell you whether you will approve of the voices (the usual criterion for approval), but I can say that their diction is clear and the use of the Czech language is typically beautiful (though, I believe, Martinu originally set a French libretto; correct me if I'm wrong).

I am a Martinu fan, and long craved this piece (it is a 3x CD, and as such, expensive); now I would not be without it. But I do not listen to it often, and it took me a year and more to really appreciate it (even given my predisposition to like it). Because it is outstanding, I give 5 stars; but they should be regarded, as I warn, with caution.

Welcome Fellow Surrealists!
Wayne A. | Belfast, Northern Ireland | 06/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Allow me to repeat the nice things said below but spin the whole a bit differently. This is a Surrealist opera, about the only one I know of. Someday a recording of it will be released with cover art by Magritte and that'll be about right. For those who wander through surrealist landscapes joyfully, this is for you."