Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Tchaikovsky - Mazeppa / Putilin Aleksashkin Diadkova Loskutova Lutsiuk Gergiev Kirov Opera|
Actors: Kirov Ballet, Kirov Opera, Nikolai Putilin, Sergei Aleksashkin, Larissa Diadkova
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
A HIDDEN GEM
Charles D. novak | minneapolis, minnesota USA | 09/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MAZEPPA by Pyotr ILyich Tchaikovsky now out on DVD is a real find and treat. This 1996 performance by the Kirov Opera at the Marinsky Theater is a near perfect production in the traditional mode. The singing is excellent and the score begs for more then one hearing. I watched it twice the same day when my DVD copy arrived in the mail. I've also already purchased my ticket to see the Metropolitan Opera production of this seldom performed work during its 2005-06 season. Conductor Valery Gergiev once again proves his command of Russian opera and he keeps the proceedings moving swiftly without a baton in his hand. His orchestra is first rate! Of the singers, I would single out Larissa Diadkova as Lybov, the wife and Nokolai Putilin as Mazeppa. With colorful costumes, a first rate dance scene in act one and fantastic sound by the engineers of EuroArts, you can't go wrong buying this DVD. I could have done without the Marinsky Marching Band that opens the last act, but I quibble. You will fall in love with this music at first hearing. Move over PIQUE DAME, BORIS and EUGENE. Here comes MAZEPPA !! BUY THIS ONE!"
A spotless performance of a superior opera
Alain Blouin | Ste-Foy, Québec Canada | 03/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Before this recording came out, I had heard about this opera. It's story seemed very capable of providing great musical moments. When I saw this dvd at my local store, I knew I was going to buy it. I bought it, and I definitely don't regret my decision.
Regarding the recording itself, it is of great quality. The image, sound quality and singing were all great. I personally didn't find Loskutova too old for her role. Aside from a few moments in the second act, she looked the part quite well (her mad scene was also quite convincing). The one singing Andreï, however, could've demonstrated a little bit more passion. As for the staging, it is, I think, perfectly adequate.
This opera was composed a little after Tchaikovsky's major operatic masterpiece "Eugene Onegin". You can easily recognize at some points the similarities between both works, even though they treat very different subjects (Eugene Onegin is very intimistic, whereas Mazeppa is a dramatic "grand opera", like Meyerbeer's "Les Huguenots"). One little gripe I have about this work of art is that since it lasts quite longer than Eugene (almost 3 hours), you don't always find the sweeping melodies that make Tchaikovsky's music what it is in some scenes. The first act, quite frankly, lacked vitality at some points. However, from the start of act 2 to the end of the opera, it just gets better and better. Kochubey and Iskra's last prayer before the execution at the end of the second act was extremely moving. This duet is definitely something worthy of the composer of the "Pathétique" symphony, and a good enough reason to buy this dvd (as well as the whole third act)."
A Restored Gem!
Dr. John W. Rippon | Florida | 04/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mazeppa is truly a great find. It is yet another restored Russian gem given new brilliance by conductor Valery Gergiev and the Kirov. I had only been familiar with Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" and "Queen of Spades" in various productions and came to cherish each as great opera. The only other of his operas I had seen was "Maid of Orleans" which was not as sucessful as the others. So I thought Mazzeppa would be another "ho-hum" of historical interest and no more. What a surprise! This is a majestic epic of the wild times in Russian history and the legendary hero of Ukrainian history. It is full of drama, blood and thunder that would be found in the later Prince Igor, Boris and Khovanshchina. The orchestration of Mazeppa is grand and lush as you'd expect from the master symphonist, the characters are well drawn and develop. There is even a "mad scene" a la Donizetti-Bellini Italian school. This is a true gem with wonderful music for the ear and grand drama for the eye."
Excellent production of rare gem!
Richard Askenase | Boston, MA United States | 11/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This Kirov production from 1996 is aces all the way. The production itself is just outstanding- perhaps the best of any opera on dvd. The large staging, gigantic Russian choruses (always a plus), superb costumes, and incredible orchestra, make this a pure visual treat. And the filming (by Brian Large) is perfect with INCREDIBLE SOUND! The singers, especially Nikolai Putilin as Mazeppa, are excellent.
The opera is the dramatic story of the elder Hetman (chieftain) Mazeppa seeking to marry his friend's very young daughter (with her consent- she loves him) to which his friend vigorously protests. The friend then betrays Mazeppa to Tsar Peter (offstage) which backfires into his being jailed and turned over to Mazeppa for torture and execution (unknown to the daughter). When her mother informs her of her father's impending execution by Mazeppa, they try to stop the execution (also offstage, thankfully) but arrive too late (in a very dramatic scene). She faints, goes mad, and the opera ends in an extended mad scene for her (very common in 19th century opera). Although this summary doesn't really do it justice, the opera is quite dramatic and emotional.
It is the music that gives me a slight hesitation, and only 4 stars. I love Tchaikovsky, and his Russian sturm und drang music, but this isn't nearly as tuneful as "Eugene Onegin"- but more dramatic, and better theater. So you takes your choice.
One final word, and aside about the subtitles- a pet peeve of mine. This production makes EXCELLENT use of subtitles as I will detail below, MUCH better than most opera dvd's on the market. Here, they get several things right: 1) good English and not idiosyncratic (no modern expressions or slang); 2) proper spelling (you wouldn't believe the bad spelling on other dvd's); 3) subtitle right in line with the sung text- not too early or late. So, this is a big plus.
I strongly recommend this dvd as a great production of a fine dramatic Russian opera. It will bear many re-playings."