Wrong languages, right opera
postupano | Arlington VA | 01/19/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The only reason I'm not giving this five stars is to emphasize that it shouldn't be your only recording of this great opera based on the languages (see below) in which it is performed. I'm not sure anyone consciously sets out to answer the question, "Are there any recordings of 'Prince Igor' in German?" but once I was aware this had been issued I found it irresistible. For certain opera nuts (and you know who you are) the very idea of hearing some of the singers famous from Solti's Ring cycle chasing the Polovtsians around in a 1969 live performance from the Vienna State Opera will be recommendation enough. But that's far from the only attraction. Sound is very decent, and von Matacic keeps things moving. Hotter and Frick as Galitsky and Konchak respectively, live up to their considerable reputations. In addition, the third act is included which is not always a sure thing for recordings of this opera; total time is about 180 minutes. The rest of the principal roles include Eberhard Wachter as Igor, Hilde Zadek (Yaroslavna), Giuseppe Zampieri (Vladimir), Ira Malaniuk (Konchakovna), Erich Majkut (Ovlur), Karl Donch (Skula), and Peter Klein (Yeroshka). The booklet features detailed track listings, notes, synopsis, selected singer biographies but no libretto.
But that's not all, folks. The third disc is filled out by an additional 34 minutes of "Igor" in Italian recorded September 1964 in Rome which offers Boris Christoff singing both Galitsky and Konchak's big numbers. The remaining excerpts feature Giuseppe Taddei (Igor), Luigi Infantino (Vladimir), and Oralia Dominguez (Konchakovna). RAI chorus and orchestra, conducted by Armando La Rosa Parodi.
Anyone who loves this opera really needs to have a recording in Russian,but as a supplement this set is more than just a guilty pleasure.