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Gurzenich-Orchester Cologne, Cologne Opera Chorus, Dmitrij Kitajenko - P.I. Tchaikovsky: Iolanta (2015) 2CDs [Re-Up]

Posted By: Designol
Gurzenich-Orchester Cologne, Cologne Opera Chorus, Dmitrij Kitajenko - P.I. Tchaikovsky: Iolanta (2015) 2CDs [Re-Up]

Pjotr Iljitsch Tschaikowsky: Jolanthe (2015) 2CDs
Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Chor der Oper Köln; Dmitrij Kitajenko, conductor

EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue&Log) ~ 469 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 250 Mb | Scans included
Genre: Classical | Label: OEHMS | # OC963 | Time: 01:47:27

The world premieres of Iolanta and The Nutcracker took place on 18 December 1892 at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre. “The execution of both,” wrote the composer to his brother Anatoly the next day, “was magnificent, and that of the ballet perhaps too magnificent – its brilliance made one’s eyes tired.” Gustav Mahler conducted the first performance of the one-act opera outside Russia on 3 January 1893 in Hamburg and also directed the Viennese premiere of Iolanta on 22 March 1900.

It’s wonderful to see Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta finally receiving its due. Peter Sellars’s quirky staging appeared at Aix-en-Provence this summer and the Metropolitan Opera recently mounted its first production, starring Anna Netrebko, who recorded the role for DG in 2012. Dmitri Tcherniakov brings Iolanta to Paris next year, paired with The Nutcracker – its original partner at its St Petersburg premiere in 1892. Now there’s a new recording to consider. Like DG’s, it is a concert recording. It proves, in many ways, even more compelling.

Tchaikovsky’s fairy-tale about a blind princess who is kept ‘in the dark’ about her condition has a sentimental, mawkish quality, yet the music never fails to move me, right from the luscious opening scene where string quartet and harp serenade Iolanta and her entourage. The Cologne Gürzenich Orchestra have recorded a very fine Tchaikovsky symphony cycle with Kitaenko and they are on excellent form, satisfying and weighty. Oehms has caught a much more realistic balance than DG, where voices were closely miked in a claustrophobic halo. A black mark for Oehms, though, for not including a libretto in their booklet, although there is a full track-by-track synopsis.

Leading the cast is the excellent young Russian Olesya Golovneva as Iolanta. Her roles explore the lighter end of the scale – Queen of the Night, Gilda, Zerbinetta – but she also covers lyric repertoire such as Tatyana. As anticipated from this CV, she floats high notes beautifully and her arioso ‘Otchego eto prezhde ne znala’ (Why, until now, have I not shed tears?) is full of tender fragility. As a young innocent, Golovneva’s Iolanta is preferable to the fuller, darker soprano of Netrebko, who arguably took it into her repertory a fraction too late.

Alexander Vinogradov’s soft-grained bass is rock-solid and on magnificent form as Iolanta’s father, the protective King René, proving far stronger than the woolly Vitalij Kowaljow for DG. Vladislav Sulimsky, as the Moorish physician Ibn-Hakia, possesses a powerful baritone, making the most of his aria, with its oriental inflections.

Intruding into the secret garden come Robert, Duke of Burgundy, betrothed to Iolanta (although in love with another), and his friend Vaudémont. In a coup of luxury casting, considering the role’s brevity, Andrei Bondarenko makes for a resplendent Robert, easily the equal of Dmitri Hvorostovsky on Valery Gergiev’s Philips recording.

Tenor Dmytro Popov is in mellifluous, heady voice as Vaudémont. Discovering Iolanta asleep in the garden, Vaudémont falls in love with her and discovers her blindness through her inability to distinguish between white and red roses. Ther duet is the crux of the opera and Popov and Golovneva are incredibly touching, with Kitaenko unleashing a tremendous orchestral outpouring at the end. Most of the smaller roles are well taken, apart from the clotted mezzo singing Martha, with a vibrant contribution from the chorus of Cologne Opera in the closing hymn of praise after Ibn-Hakia works his miracle and cures Iolanta. A top-drawer recording of an increasingly significant opera.

Review by Mark Pullinger, Gramophone

Iolanta, Tchaikovsky's last opera, was written in 1891, just two years before his death. It is difficult to explain the infrequency of its performance, as it shows the composer in his full powers producing some glorious music. The plot is, perhaps, rather politically incorrect nowadays, with characters who believe that the blindness of Iolanta is something shameful which needs to be hidden even from the character herself although, to be fair to the piece, both King René and Vaudémont eventually recognise that this is a mistaken reaction. It is perhaps more likely that it is its length which makes it awkward. The opera is in one continuous act lasting about an hour and a half, so it is distinctly on the short side for an evening's entertainment but a little on the long side to be half of a double bill. The only operas of this length and structure that have gained a real place in the repertoire are Salome and Elektra. However, things are perhaps changing; this is the second recording of the piece to be issued in the last year or so, so its quality seems to be gaining greater recognition. However, it must be said that both this and the Netrebko/Villaume recordings are taken from concert performances, not staged productions, so it has still to find a niche in the theatre.

The performance issued here is a good one, but it faces very strong competition from both the recent Villaume set and the 20-year-old Gergiev/Kirov recording (with Galina Gorchakova - Philips 442 796-2). All the principals are Russian, but one of the disappointments about almost all of the cast is that they make very little of the words. No libretto is provided with this set, but, using a separate one, I found that if I looked up from it for a short while, it was very difficult to find my place again because the diction is so indistinct. Golovneva as Iolanta has an attractive voice, though not one of outstanding quality. Her top is secure and the middle warm, but her style is generalised and rather bland. There is little word painting or dynamic contrast, and her swallowing of consonants leads to a rather featureless legato. Her love interest, Vaudémont, is also well sung, and Popov has much better diction. He has quite a heroic "ping" to the top of the voice and handles the line with sensitivity and a good legato. As King René, Vinogradov does not have as rich a tone as I would ideally like and the top of the voice is a little loose, but he makes a decent job of the part, though, again, words don't seem to very important to him. Bondarenko's Duke Robert is very much along the same lines as the others - a good voice but insufficient detail to make the character really live. His paean of praise to his beloved Matilde goes for very little. The finest overall vocal performance is probably Sulimsky's Ibn-Hakai. This a character part which he puts over with exactly the sort of textual pointing missing in the other singers.

Kitajenko's conducting shows very much the same qualities as his singers. It is instructive to note the lengths of the performances: Villaume and Gergiev take almost the same time, about 94 minutes, whereas Kitajenko takes almost quarter of an hour longer, and not to the music's benefit. Villaume is very good, but Gergiev's passion and detail are even finer. Just listen, for example, to the way the Gergiev points the orchestral detail in the string lines in King René's aria to see why his performance is so much more involving than Kitajenko's. Both of the other conductors have a sense of momentum and involvement which Kitajenko does not match.

Exactly the same must be said of the soloists. Gorchakova (Gergiev) may not have the creamy tone and delicacy of Netrebko (Villaume), but I found her even more involving, and she has an almost heroic quality to her gleaming top. Both these sopranos have an opulence of phrasing which Golovenko lacks. There is less disparity with the Vaudémonts, but both Skorokhodov (Villaume) and, even more, Grigoriam (Gergiev) have greater vocal and interpretative resources. Alexashkin (Gergiev) and Kowaljov (Villaume) have more impressive voices than Vinogradov, and neither Bondarenko nor Markov (Villaume) can match Hvorostovsky (Gergiev) either vocally or in characterisation as Duke Robert.

If this set were the only recording of Iolanta I would be quite content with it, but in this field it comes a definite third place. Even the recording is inferior to either of the other sets; the voices are rather distant and lack presence, at times they are even drowned a little. The Gergiev may be over twenty years old, but the sound has a detail and punch lacking in this new set. My own choice would be for Gergiev, though not by much, but go for either of the older sets rather than this new one if you want to experience this glorious opera fully.

Review by Paul Steinson, MusicWeb-International.com


Gurzenich-Orchester Cologne, Cologne Opera Chorus, Dmitrij Kitajenko - P.I. Tchaikovsky: Iolanta (2015) 2CDs [Re-Up]



Gurzenich-Orchester Cologne, Cologne Opera Chorus, Dmitrij Kitajenko - P.I. Tchaikovsky: Iolanta (2015) 2CDs [Re-Up]



Iolanta - Olesya Golovneva (soprano)
Godefroy de Vaudémont - Dmytro Popov (tenor)
King René - Alexander Vinogradov (bass)
Duke Robert - Andrei Bondarenko (baritone)
Alméric - John Heuzenroeder (tenor)
Ibn-Hakia - Vladislav Sulimsky (baritone)
Martha - Justyna Samborska (alto)
Bertrand - Marc-Olivier Oetterli (bass)
Brigitta - Dalia Schaechter (soprano)
Laura - Marta Wryk (mezzo)

Gürzenich-Orchester, Cologne and Cologne Opera Chorus
Dmitri Kitajenko, conductor
rec. live, Cologne Philharmonie, 2014

Tracklist:

Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Iolanta - lyric opera in one act (1892)

CD1:

01. Introduction (02:52)
02. I. Scene and Arioso of Iolanta (10:18)
03. II. Scene and Choir (02:22)
04. III. Scene and Choir (05:52)
05. IV. Scene and Arioso of King René (13:25)
06. V. Scene and Monologue of Ibn-Hakia (08:28)

CD2:

01. VI. Scene and Aria of Robert (06:09)
02. VIa. Romance of Vaudémont (04:20)
03. VII. Scene and Duet of Iolanta and Vaudémont (24:31)
04. VIII. Scene (13:56)
05. IX. Finale (15:07)


Exact Audio Copy V1.1 from 23. June 2015

EAC extraction logfile from 2. April 2016, 1:19

Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Dmitrij Kitajenko / Tchaikovsky - Iolanta - CD1

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Range status and errors

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Test CRC 3BEC3E1A
Copy CRC 3BEC3E1A
Copy OK

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Track 2 accurately ripped (confidence 1) [87B0B272] (AR v2)
Track 3 accurately ripped (confidence 1) [4CADF024] (AR v2)
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foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2017-03-05 05:35:04

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Analyzed: Gurzenich-Orchester Koln, Dmitrij Kitajenko / Tchaikovsky - Iolanta - CD1
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
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DR15 -9.02 dB -29.18 dB 2:53 01-Introduction
DR16 -0.66 dB -24.15 dB 10:18 02-I. Scene and Arioso of Iolanta
DR13 -2.56 dB -21.89 dB 2:22 03-II. Scene and Choir
DR15 -2.27 dB -23.59 dB 5:52 04-III. Scene and Choir
DR14 -0.34 dB -20.16 dB 13:26 05-IV. Scene and Arioso of King Rene
DR14 -0.06 dB -19.82 dB 8:29 06-V. Scene and Monologue of Ibn-Hakia
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Bitrate: 563 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================


Exact Audio Copy V1.1 from 23. June 2015

EAC extraction logfile from 2. April 2016, 2:22

Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Dmitrij Kitajenko / Tchaikovsky - Iolanta - CD2

Used drive : HL-DT-STDVDRAM GU70N Adapter: 1 ID: 0

Read mode : Secure
Utilize accurate stream : Yes
Defeat audio cache : Yes
Make use of C2 pointers : No

Read offset correction : 48
Overread into Lead-In and Lead-Out : No
Fill up missing offset samples with silence : Yes
Delete leading and trailing silent blocks : No
Null samples used in CRC calculations : Yes
Used interface : Native Win32 interface for Win NT & 2000

Used output format : User Defined Encoder
Selected bitrate : 128 kBit/s
Quality : High
Add ID3 tag : No
Command line compressor : C:\Program Files (x86)\Exact Audio Copy\Flac\flac.exe
Additional command line options : -V -8 -T "Date=%year%" -T "Genre=%genre%" %source%


TOC of the extracted CD

Track | Start | Length | Start sector | End sector
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2 | 6:09.70 | 4:20.71 | 27745 | 47315
3 | 10:30.66 | 24:31.05 | 47316 | 157645
4 | 35:01.71 | 13:56.42 | 157646 | 220387
5 | 48:58.38 | 15:07.70 | 220388 | 288482


Range status and errors

Selected range

Filename C:\temp\Tchaikovsky - Iolanta - Kitajenko\CD2\Tchaikovsky - Iolanta - CD2.wav

Peak level 99.0 %
Extraction speed 2.1 X
Range quality 100.0 %
Test CRC 0FA5E357
Copy CRC 0FA5E357
Copy OK

No errors occurred


AccurateRip summary

Track 1 accurately ripped (confidence 1) [4414D7DA] (AR v2)
Track 2 accurately ripped (confidence 1) [60469EC0] (AR v2)
Track 3 accurately ripped (confidence 1) [3D8498D4] (AR v2)
Track 4 accurately ripped (confidence 1) [89F79312] (AR v2)
Track 5 accurately ripped (confidence 1) [463DBB42] (AR v2)

All tracks accurately ripped

End of status report

==== Log checksum A5513F6D238703F45DFC0B4B7450726BFC2EF2CC64117CBBB55D903C59C16D1A ====

foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2017-03-05 05:35:27

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Gurzenich-Orchester Koln, Dmitrij Kitajenko / Tchaikovsky - Iolanta - CD2
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR14 -0.34 dB -19.64 dB 6:10 01-VI. Scene and Aria of Robert
DR13 -5.59 dB -23.63 dB 4:21 02-VIa. Romance of Vaudemont
DR16 -0.17 dB -21.03 dB 24:31 03-VII. Scene and Duet of Iolanta and Vaudemont
DR14 -0.73 dB -20.15 dB 13:57 04-VIII. Scene
DR12 -0.08 dB -17.69 dB 15:08 05-IX. Finale
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 5
Official DR value: DR14

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 632 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================

Gurzenich-Orchester Cologne, Cologne Opera Chorus, Dmitrij Kitajenko - P.I. Tchaikovsky: Iolanta (2015) 2CDs [Re-Up]

All thanks to original releaser - A-Z

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