V1336. GABRIELA BENACKOVA, w.Rudolf Firkusny (Pf.): Songs by Dvorák, Janácek & Martinu. RCA 60823, recorded 1993, w.15pp text-brochure. Final copy. - 090266082322
“While best known for her accomplishments in Czech music, particularly that of Dvorák and Smetana, Benackova has performed in nearly all the lirico-spinto soprano roles in the Italian repertoire. She has earned equal praise for her musicianship and vocal beauty, though she is occasionally accused of bringing a non-Italianate coolness to those roles. She has also sung the more lyric Wagner roles, including Eva and Senta.
Her opera début was at the National Theater in Prague, as Natasha in Prokofiev's WAR AND PEACE, in 1970. In 1975, she sang her first Jenufa there; like Dvorák's Rusalka, that role has since become one of her signatures. Jenufa was also the vehicle for her 1978 Vienna State Opera début. In 1979, she made her Covent Garden début as Tatyana in Tchaikovsky's EUGEN ONEGIN. She sang the title role of Smetana's LIBUSE for the re-opening of the National Theater in Prague in 1983. Her Met début was as Kát'a Kabanová in 1991, which she also recorded with Sir Charles Mackerras in 1997. She also continued her career as a concert artist in works by Dvorák, Janácek, and Mahler. Benackova has been involved in the restoration of Gustav Mahler's birthplace at Kaliste in the Czech Republic.”
- Anne Feeney, allmusic.com
“Mr. Firkusny settled in New York in 1940, after the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia. With the Communist takeover in 1948, he abandoned plans to return to his homeland and became an American citizen. A fierce advocate of democracy, he returned to Czechoslovakia only to visit family and friends.
In making music, Mr. Firkusny once said: ‘I have never considered myself the most important man. That is the composer’. He formed a special friendship with Bohuslav Martinu, and brought several of his works to life.
He made many excellent recordings, notably his third version of the Dvorák Piano Concerto, with Vaclav Neumann and the Czech Philharmonic; a superb disk of Janácek solo works, and a collection of Czech songs with Gabriela Benackova, all on RCA Victor.”
- James R. Oestreich, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 20 July, 1994