Janácek, Leos - Makropulos Case, The - Mackerras, Charles (conductor)

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'Cheryl Barker matches Elisabeth Söderström’s famous turn in the first Mackerras recording of this endlessly fascinating opera. As always, there is no conductor who better understands Janacék’s sound-world nor its conversational rhythms. A strong cast and excellent translation makes this a Janacék must-have.'


- This is the first recording of this remarkable opera in English.

- Sir Charles Mackerras returns to his beloved Janácek with this live recording from the Coliseum

- It is Janácek’s penultimate opera

Sir Charles Mackerras, a world authority on the great Czech composer Janácek, conducts this poignant drama of love and immortality in the production by Christopher Alden for ENO in 2006. Set in a dream-like vision of 1920s Prague, the opera centres on the enigmatic and sexually irresistible Emilia Marty, an opera diva who after taking an elixir has lived for more than 300 years. As she approaches the end of the term for which the elixir spared her death, the opera powerfully explores Emilia’s dilemma of whether to prolong her life a further 300 years.

The soprano Cheryl Barker here made her role debut as the mesmerising Emilia Marty, and American tenor Robert Brubaker appears as Albert Gregor, a role he has sung at The Metropolitan Opera, New York, to great acclaim. Janácek was a late developer, coming to creative maturity in his fifties, and driven by a fierce nationalism, a passionate obsession with a younger woman and a preoccupation with what he described as ‘the fascination of what’s difficult’. In the ten years which witnessed the birth of almost all of his musical masterpieces, Janácek took large artistic risks. In particular, in his three last operas – The Cunning Little Vixen, The Makropulos Case and From the House of the Dead – he set himself challenges which were not merely difficult but well-nigh insane – and surmounted them triumphantly.

These three music dramas are among the most humane and moving musical documents of the twentieth century. None of them is stranger or more affecting than the opera which is known in the English-speaking world as The Makropulos Case. The music is some of the most transcendent in all of twentieth-century opera.

Reviews from the performance:
'Sir Charles Mackerras conducts with the energy of a man possessed, confirming his status as the world’s pre-eminent Janácek interpreter and producing a blistering performance from the ENO orchestra… It’s the humanity of Janácek’s music that finally triumphs in this magnificent, insightful production.'
(The Guardian)

'So good it hurts… some of the greatest operatic music ever… Entrust Janácek’s case to one of his greatest champions, Sir Charles Mackerras, and you have one of the most memorable evenings at English National Opera… Cheryl Barker is outstanding as Emilia Marty… Uprecedented eloquence from ENO’s fine house orchestra.'
(The Observer)

Cheryl Barker soprano - Emilia Marty (E.M.)
Neal Davies bass-baritone - Dr Kolenaty
John Graham-Hall tenor - Vítek
Elena Xanthoudakis soprano - Kristina
Robert Brubaker tenor - Albert Gregor
John Wegner baritone - Baron Jaroslav Prus
Thomas Walker tenor - Janek Prus
Graham Clark Count Hauk-Šendorf
Graham Danby bass - Stage Hand
Kathleen Wilkinson mezzo-soprano - Cleaner
Susanna Tudor-Thomas mezzo-soprano - Chambermaid
English National Opera Chorus; English National Opera Orchestra/Charles Mackerras

The Makropulos Case 125:43
Opera in Three Acts
Libretto by the composer after Karel Capek's comedy Vec Makropulos
English translation by Norman Tucker

CD 2
Act I
1 Prelude
2 'Oh dear, my goodness!'
Vítek, Gregor
3 'Daddy, she really is wonderful'
Kristina, Gregor, Vítek
4 'Come this way please'
Kolenaty, Kristina, Marty, Gregor
5 'Gone at last!'
6 'Emilia'
Gregor, Marty
7 'Found it! We've found it'
Kolenaty, Marty, Gregor, Prus

Act II
8 'Did you ever see such flowers?'
Cleaner, Stage Hand, Prus
9 'Janek, come on. No one here will see us'
Kristina, Janek, Prus, Marty, Gregor, Vítek
10 'Excuse me. Excuse me, may I…'
Hauk, Marty, Prus
11 'And the next! Is that the lot?'
Marty, Vítek, Kristina, Janek, Prus, Gregor
12 'Allow me to ask this question'
Prus, Marty
13 'Is that you, Bertie?'
Marty, Gregor, Cleaner, Janek, Prus

CD 2
1 'Well? D'you hear me?'
Marty, Prus, Chambermaid
2 'Buenos dias Maxi! Why so early?'
Marty, Hauk, Chambermaid, Kolenaty, Gregor
3 'The seal and th'initials E.M.'
Gregor, Vítek, Kolenaty, Prus, Marty, Kristina
4 'Fetch the doctor!'
Kolenaty, Marty, Gregor, Vítek, Prus, Kristina, Chorus

5 Interview with Sir Charles Mackerras
6 Interview
7 Interview
8 Interview
9 Interview
10 Interview
Sir Charles Mackerra talks with Rodney Milnes about how he came to love Janácek, the man and the musician.
Artikelnummer CHAN3138
Streckkod 0095115313824
Utgivningsdatum 2007-02-14
Kategori Opera
Skivbolag Chandos
Enhet CD
Antal enheter 2
Artister Mackerras, Charles (conductor)
English National Opera
Dirigenter Mackerras, Charles
Kompositörer Janácek, Leos
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