- Jenufa, opera, JW 1/4
- Jealousy (Zárlivost), overture for orchestra, JW 6/10
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It's hard to think of a twentieth century Czech-language opera that has enjoyed more success than Leos Janácek's "Jenufa," and there is certainly no shortage of good recordings of it, including one in English. Among the most exceptional is this 1983 effort for Decca led by Charles Mackerras, now revived in its The Originals series. Elisabeth Söderström is riveting in her portrayal of the small town girl desperate for the empty-headed Steva, played by Peter Dvorský, will marry her and legitimize their child. Wieslaw Ochman is alternatively menacing and touching as Steva's crazed, jealousy-confused rival and Lucia Popp makes a memorable turn in the relatively minor role of Karolka; Mackerras keeps things moving at a breathless pace. Perhaps one might concede that a 130-minute opera doesn't need "extras," but this set has a couple of useful ones. It includes the last scene as revised, rather aggressively, by orchestrator Karel Kovarovic, and "Jealousy," the original overture of "Jenufa" that Janácek had cast aside in favor of another, but that later became a popular concert work in its own right. The main difference between The Originals edition and the initial Decca/London release is the booklet -- this is a Photostatic copy of the original book, very lightly printed and hard to read. There is an advantage in that The Originals version of "Jenufa" is mastered in 24-bit and lists for far less than what was asked the first time around; bring along a magnifying glass and you should be fine.