Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Julian Grant | London, Beijing, New York | 01/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"You might, coming across a CD entitled 'The Tchaikovsky Experience', expect yet another compilation of over-familiar favourites - not so here. While Tchaikovsky's ballets and symphonies are in danger of over-exposure, his ten operas are, with two exceptions, unfamiliar. This beautifully planned recital provides extracts from every one of them - even an abandoned one (Undine). Four singers: two sopranos, tenor and baritone perform a selection of arias and duets. Inessa Galante delivers an engrossing and very emotional performance of the most familiar item here, the Letter Scene from 'Eugene Onegin', she enters fully into Tatyana's world. She is just as good in an extended duet from Tchaikovsky's last opera 'Iolanta', partnered ably by tenor Alexander Fedin - and she darkens her voice convincingly for a plangent account of Joan of Arc's aria from 'The Maid of Orleans' - traditionally mezzo territory. Marina Shaguch (familiar from many recent Kirov Opera recordings)has a brighter timbre, which suits Undine's delectable song, and possibly the most ravishing aria on the disc, that from 'Vakula the Smith', a rustic comic opera that cries out for a modern recording - it is almost totally unknown and contains some of Tchaikovsky's most delicious music. She is less involving in the final scene and deranged lullaby from 'Mazeppa', which doesn't pack the necessary punch here, though it is beautifully sung. Alexander Fedin is less consistent, best in the familiar excerpts from 'The Queen of Spades'. Sergei Leiferkus has the least to do, but does it well, though his account of Yeletsky's aria from 'The Queen of Spades' does not bear comparison with Pavel Lisitsian's classic account. But it is the wealth of unfamiliar music here that counts, and with sparkling support from the Royal Opera House orchestra and Neemi Jarvi, this disc is a winner, and should be essential listening for every Tchaikovsky lover.Don't be put off by the most awful jacket design - a green tinged Sloane-y young gel(presumably Tatiana)who looks as if she's strayed in from a photoshoot for 'Brides' magazine. Ridiculous,inappropriate and unimaginative, but we all know better than to judge a CD by its cover, don't we?"