OP0603. SADKO (Rimsky-Korsakov), Live Performance, 1993, Mariinsky Theatre, w.Gergiev Cond. Kirov Opera Ensemble; Vladimir Galusin, Valentina Tsedipova, Marianna Tarassova, Larissa Diadkova, Gegam Grigorian, Sergei Alexashkin, etc. 3-Philips 442 138, Slipcase Edition w.Elaborate Libretto-brochure. Very long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy. - 028944213829
"This is a superb offering, indicative of the high standards now obtaining at the Kirov. Its director Gergiev determined to revive the work in facsimiles of the sets of the painter Konstantin Korovin, dating from 1920. The results, as can be judged from this video of a 1993 performance, taken live from the Maryinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, are evocative of a past age's glory as regards decor....
Gergiev performs the opera uncut, thus preserving its well-constructed dimensions and conducts it commandingly. The Kirov field a strong cast, capable of fulfilling Rimsky's appreciable demands on his singers. Galusin convincingly conveys Sadko's free spirit. His bright tenor happily blends the lyric with the heroic, even if his tone hardens under pressure. Tsedipova is an alluring Volkhova with a refulgent, big-scale soprano that she displays with artistry, most of all in her tender lullaby to the sleeping Sadko before she leaves him to turn herself into a river. As his faithful, long-suffering wife Lyubava, Tarassova discloses a mezzo and acting ability quite out of the ordinary, her voice marrying supple warmth with Russian bite. Diadkova, the other mezzo, makes much of the ballads of the psalter-player Nezhata.
Before Sadko sets off on his travels he is regaled by three foreign guests, three merchants, whose songs are well sung here, but not as individually as by many Russian male singers of the past. Given his reputation, Grigorian is curiously clumsy as the Indian guest. Alexashkin is an appropriately fiery Sea-King, nicely warming his tone as his suspicions of Sadko are overcome.
As a whole, this is an issue to treasure. Large's video direction is as faultless as ever. The sound is a model of excellence. As no major company has staged this work in this country since the war, this issue is doubly welcome."
Alan Blyth, GRAMOPHONE, July, 1995