Janácek: Káta Kabanová

Janácek: Káta Kabanová

by Charles MackerrasCharles Mackerras


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Everybody loves Kát’a Kabanova. Alexander Ostrovsky, the Russian playwright who turned her tragic story into popular art, loved her and lavished one of his most moving plays on her. Leoš Janácek, the Czech composer who turned Ostrovsky’s play into an opera, loved her and lavished some of his most beautiful music on her. And Decca, the English record company which made the first non-Czech recording of Janácek’s opera, loved her and gave her not only the great Swedish soprano Elisabeth Söderstörm to sing the role, the great Australian conductor Charles Mackerras to direct the production and the great Weiner Philharmoniker to play the music, but lavished some of it best late-stereo sound on the performance. The result is a tremendously moving, unbearably affecting and altogether overwhelming recording of such consummate artistry that no recording of it prior to its release in 1977 and no recording of it after its release even comes to close it. Just listen to the love duet conclude Act II: is not Söderstrom’s singing ecstasy given voice, is not the Weiner Philharmoniker rapture made sound, is not the atmosphere as luminously blissful as the Act II love duet from Tristan but more human and thus more moving? Coupled here with David Atherton and members of the London Sinfonietta’s bright and witty 1981 recordings of Janácek’s Capriccio and Concertino, this 2006 re-issue demands to be heard by everyone with any interest in 20th century opera.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/13/2006
Label: Decca
UPC: 0028947575184
catalogNumber: 000641602
Rank: 68307


  1. Káta Kabanová, opera, JW 1/8
  2. Capriccio for piano (left hand), flute & brass ensemble ("Vzdor," "Defiance"), JW 7/12
  3. Concertino for piano, 2 violins, viola, clarinet, horn & bassoon, JW 7/11

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