Dvorák, Antonín - Rusalka (3CD Box) - Hickox, Richard (conductor)

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"Chandos certainly has guts, going toe-to-toe with Mackerras’s Gramophone Award-winning set. Hickox’s Australian forces need not fear the comparison. Cheryl Barker may not have the refulgent tones of Renée Fleming on Decca (who has?) but she is even more moving in conveying Rusalka’s desperation. Mackerras is still my must-own, but this runs it close."

Richard Hickox and Opera Australia’s Australian premiere production of Dvorák’s Rusalka opened to spectacular reviews in March 2007. ‘Hickox and the orchestra capture its sudden changeability and dramatic force, elegantly shaping the luscious, sweeping melodies while inflecting the intoxicating, folk music-inspired rhythms with grace and bite’, noted The Australian. Chandos recorded the performances live and here releases the opera on a 3-CD set.

Inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy-tale The Little Mermaid, Rusalka tells of a water-spirit who falls in love with a prince. Enlisting the help of a witch, Rusalka becomes human so as to marry him. When the prince tires of her, and is unfaithful, she tries to return to the water, but a condition of her becoming human has been violated and she eventually dies together with the remorseful prince. Her story is of human desire, self-sacrifice and the search for enlightenment.

By the time Dvorák came to write Rusalka, he was an experienced opera composer with nine works to his credit; Rusalka was to be his last and is now a seasoned favourite. Part of the secret of the score’s magic lies in the instrumental colouring. Dvorák was always inspired in his handling of the orchestra, but in Rusalka he reaches new heights of expressive scene painting. In the hands of Richard Hickox these elements are skillfully realised.

Taking the role of Rusalka for the first time in this production, the Australian-born soprano Cheryl Barker won deserved plaudits for her performances throughout the Australian press. ‘It is hard to imagine anyone doing the title role better” (The Australian). ‘Cheryl Barker gives an astonishing performance… she manages to capture the ethereal other-worldly quality of the water spirit, both physically and vocally, and her realization that her love for the prince is not returned is heart wrenching’ (The Canberra Review). She is joined in leading roles by Rosario La Spina, Elizabeth Whitehouse, Bruce Martin and Anne-Marie Owens who also received excellent reviews. The Sydney Morning Herald, for example, wrote, ‘Barker is not the only star. Elizabeth Whitehouse is thrillingly venal as the rival foreign princess, and Bruce Martin, as the water sprite, has insistent potency’.
Artikelnummer CHAN10449
Streckkod 0095115144923
Utgivningsdatum 2008-01-14
Kategori Opera
Skivbolag Chandos
Enhet CD
Antal enheter 3
Artister Hickox, Richard (conductor)
Dirigenter Hickox, Richard
Kompositörer Dvorák, Antonín
Orkestrar Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
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