Martinu: The Greek Passion

This page lists all recordings of The Greek Passion, by Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) on CD, DVD & download (MP3 & FLAC).

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Martinu: The Greek Passion

Martinu: The Greek Passion


Wilfried Zelinka (Priest Grigoris), Ivan Orešcanin (Archon), Dietmar Hirzberger (Captain), Falk Witzurke (Schoolmaster), Tino Sekay (Ladas), Rolf Romei (Manolios), Dshamilja Kaiser (Katerina), Manuel von Senden (Yannakos), Martin Fournier (Michelis), Taylan Reinhard (Panait), Dariusz Perczak (Kostandis), Tatjana Miyus (Lenio), Richard Friedemann Jähnig (Dimitri), Sanggyoul Lee (Andonis), Christian Scherler (Nikolio), Markus Butter (Priest Fotis), Sofía Mara (Despinio), Yuan Zhang (An old woman), Konstantin Sfiris (An old man), David McShane (Canto)

Grazer Philharmonisches Orchester, Choir & Extra Choir of the Graz Opera, Choir of the Graz University of the Arts, Dirk Kaftan

The style of the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů was enriched by numerous influences which are reflected in The Greek Passion; magnificent choirs contrast vividly with intimate chamber music, and folkloristic elements are placed next to complex, classically worked-out orchestral movements. A highly emotional mixture of oratorio and dramatic opera takes the listener into a world in which catastrophes abound. Lorenzo Fioroni, who has directed operas in Nuremberg, Augsburg and Heidelberg, has produced this dramatic contest against fear in Graz.

“magnificent choirs contrast vividly with intimate chamber music, and folkloristic elements are placed next to complex, classically worked-out orchestral movements. A highly emotional mixture of oratorio and dramatic opera takes the listener into a world in which catastrophes abound.” MusicWeb International, June 2017

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Oehms - OC967

(CD - 2 discs)

$23.50

(also available to download from $20.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Martinu: The Greek Passion

Martinu: The Greek Passion

Zürich version, 1959


Jaroslav Horácek (Grigoris), René Tucek (Kostandis), Zdenek Jankovský (Yannakos) Oldrich Spisar (Panait), Vilém Pribyl (Manolios), Lubomír Havlák (Michelis), Nada Šormová (Lenio), Richard Novák (Fotis), Karel Petr (Starý muž), Eva Depoltová (Katerina), Božena Effenberková (Despinio), Martin Ružek (Ladas), Miloš Ježil (Nikolio), Bohuslav Maršík (Patriarcheas), Ivana Mixová (Old woman) & Vojtech Kocián (Andonis)

Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, Prague Radio Chorus & Prague Radio Children’s Chorus, Libor Pešek

Recorded at the Rudolfinum, Prague, September 29 – October 1, 1981

Remastered from the original mastertapes by Miroslav Mareš, 2010

The Greek Passion became for Bohuslav Martinu (8.12. 1890 – 18. 8. 1959) an opera epilogue whose humanistic message surpasses that of all the others owing to the sheer power of the faith and emotion. Martinu liked experimenting with opera – from setting folk texts, legends and commedie dell’arte through new formations for radio and television to opera-film, opera ballet and opera-dream.

Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel Christ Recrucified captivated the composer with the fate of refugees amid an unconcerned, indifferent world. Martinu himself was a refugee. In the libretto, which he prepared on the basis of the novel’s English translation, he captured in an effective stage contraction the transformations of the characters and the reversions of the action.

Applying remarkable technique and groundbreaking compositional invention, he depicted a world of church, genuine faith and life in the Greek countryside. He interconnected the ideational and musical content with musical motifs of the Cross and compassionate love. The elaborate operatic drama The Greek Passion was scheduled to be premiered in London yet the intention ultimately did not materialise. Subsequently, London would have to wait forty-two years for the staging of the opera (London version). After the opera was rejected, Martinu did not discard the work but revised it conceptually into a new, more compendious, more operatic and musically more sublime form. Yet he did not live to see the second version performed either.

The Greek Passion was first staged almost two years after the composer’s death, in Zurich on 9 June 1961. In the autumn of 1981, the independent preparations for this gramophone recording courageously strove to bring the Czech text closer to the original deep spiritual sense of this extraordinary work for the first time.

“A charismatic 1981 performance from Czech conductor Libor Pešek” Financial Times, 14th August 2010

Summer Opera Sale

Supraphon Czech Opera Treasures - SU39842

(CD)

Normally: $13.00

Special: $11.05

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Martinu: The Greek Passion

Martinu: The Greek Passion

Television film of the opera by Bohuslav Martinu based on the novel by Nikos Kazantzakis „Christ Recrucified“


John Mitchinson, Helen Field, John Tomlinson & Catherine Savory

Prague Philharmonic Choir, Kühn Children´s Chorus & Brno Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Mackerras

Supraphon 1981 Sung in English, subtitles: Czech, German, French

“The vocal performances are without exception magnificent: John Mitchinson as Manolios and Helen Field as Katerina, respectively Christ and Mary Magdalen, deliver near definitive readings of their roles. The transfer to a realistic open air set with actors taking the vocal roles is not particularly successful.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2008 ***

“The story of Martinu's penultimate opera begins with a priest allotting roles in the local Passion play to various congregation members.
When a group of refugees arrive begging land (their village having been sacked by the Turks) the would-be actors begin to assume the roles of their characters. Thus, after the priest rejects the refugees on the pretext that they carry cholera, Manolios, assigned to play Christ, directs them towards Mount Sarakina where there is room to spare, while the pedlar Yannakos, playing Peter, repents of a scheme to deprive the refugees of their valuables in exchange for essentials.
Panait, allotted the role of Judas, is incensed by the change of heart of Katerina, playing Mary Magdalene, who is drawn into a close spiritual bond with Manolios, who rejects his fiancée, Lenio, who in turn becomes engaged to another. In the end, Manolios's identification with Christ and sympathy for the plight of the refugees becomes too much for the priest, who excommunicates him. In a confrontation outside the church, Manolios is killed by Panait and the Passion play ended.
Supraphon's film is not of a stage or even studio performance, but was made for Czech Television in 1999 as a kind of outside broadcast, set around a real stone-built village and church.
The recording is that made in 1981 in Brno using the local orchestra and Czech choruses by Sir Charles Mackerras with soloists from Welsh National Opera. The live actors, for the most part Czechs, mouth the English text very well, though differences in mime technique are at times striking.
The outdoor setting works remarkably well, centred on the village square, the church, various cottages and the hillside where the refugees attempt to eke out a new home. The recording still sounds sumptuous, the elision of certain segments has been done expertly and for those unfamiliar with Martinu's radiant score, this film – ending with the iconic image of the dead Manolios on the church steps, should prove a compelling and moving experience.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Supraphon's film… was made for Czech Television… as a kind of outside broadcast, set around a real stone-built village and church. The recording still sounds sumptuous, the elision of certain segments has been done expertly and for those unfamiliar with Martinu's radiant score, this film - ending with the iconic image of the dead Manolios on the church steps, should prove a compelling and moving experience.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2008

DVD Video

Region: 2

Format: PAL

Summer Opera Sale

Supraphon - SU70149

(DVD Video)

Normally: $17.00

Special: $13.60

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Martinu: The Greek Passion

Martinu: The Greek Passion

opera in 4 acts


John Tomlinson, John Mitchinson, Philip Joll & Helen Field

Brno State Philharmonic Orchestra, Charles Mackerras

Summer Opera Sale

Supraphon - 1036112

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $19.25

Special: $15.40

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

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