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After its completion Tchaikovsky considered his opera Cherevichki “his finest work”. Cherevichki is vintage Tchaikovsky, the master of miniature: fantasy, colour, wit, charm and folkloristic elements, fused together into the great form of a large scale opera.
A superb live performance with vibrant Russian voices, directed by veteran Gennadi Rozhdestvensky.
A “10/10” for this production from ClassicsToday.com! Issued in the Brilliant Classics Opera Collection.
Despite Tchaikovsky’s conviction that his eighth complete opera – Cherevichki – was his ‘finest work’, deserving of a prime place in the opera repertoire, listeners outside Russia have never demonstrated the enthusiasm and appreciation that the composer evidently felt was merited. After its initial performances, Cherevichki was not staged again during Tchaikovsky’s lifetime, but as this fine release – one of the only recordings on the market today – attests, the work is ripe for rediscovery.
A revision of the earlier work Vakula the Smith, the opera tells the story of Vakula, whose courtship of his beloved Oksana is thwarted by Bes, a devil. Oksana will only give her love in exchange for the Tsarina’s shoes, so Vakula embarks upon a journey to the palace, where he hopes to outsmart Bes’s diabolical schemes and obtain the shoes through his own cunning. Although listeners will be delighted by the moments of luminous orchestral beauty, sumptuous arias and sparkling dances that are such a familiar part of Tchaikovsky’s music, Cherevichki is surprising for its humour, which reveals the composer’s masterful talent for characterisation.
Blending comedy, fantasy, colour, elegance and allusions to Russian folksong, Cherevichki gives voice to the many facets of Tchaikovsky’s compositional skill. With this fantastic new addition to the Brilliant Classics Opera Collection, listeners can rediscover one of his forgotten operatic masterpieces, performed with skill and imagination under the esteemed direction of Gennady Rozhdestvensky.
“A welcome return to the catalogue for Rozhdestvensky's idiomatic reading of the revised 1887 version of what is often called The Tsarina's Slippers. An all-Russian cast does the work full justice.”
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