OP2932. CHEREVICHKI (The Slippers) (Tschaikowsky), recorded 1948, w.Melik-Pashaev Cond. Bolshoi Opera Ensemble; Georgi Nelepp, Andrei Ivanov, Maxim Mikhailov, Krassowski, Antonova, Kruglikova, etc. (Russia) 2-Melodiya 10 02129. Transfers by D. Goklin. Brochure notes in Cyrillic, French & English. - 4600317121298
“Melodiya presents a recording of a wonderful but now so rarely performed Pyotr Tchaikovsky's lyric and comic opera CHEREVICHKI. The opera was initially named VAKULA THE SMITH. In 1874, Tchaikovsky won a competition announced by the Russian Music Society for the best opera to a libretto by Yakov Polonsky based on the famous story CHRISTMAS EVE by Nikolai Gogol from his collection EVENINGS ON A FARM NEAR DIKANKA. However, Tchaikovsky was left displeased with his piece and reworked it in 1887. The opera was then staged at the Bolshoi Theatre, and the first night of CHEREVICHKI became Tchaikovsky's début as a conductor.
Gogol was one of Tchaikovsky's favourite authors. The composer liked to rest in the Ukraine, in his sister's manor Kamenka. Tchaikovsky rendered the world of characters from Gogol's story, their lives, legends and emotions with the help of folk tunes, dance rhythms and expressive lyric intonations. The opera also has a gallant intermezzo - the scene at St. Petersburg court in the 18th century which also attracted the composer in a later opera THE QUEEN OF SPADES.
The featured recording of Cherevichki was realized in the late 1940's by the Bolshoi troupe led by the outstanding conductor Alexander Melik-Pashayev and featured some of the best performers of the Bolshoi of the time such as Elena Kruglikova, Elizaveta Antonova, Georgy Nelepp, Andrei Ivanov, Maxim Mikhailov and others.”
“CHEREVICHKI [The Little Shoes, The Tsarina's Slippers, Les caprices d'Oxane, and Gli Stivaletti] is a comic-fantastic opera by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It was composed in 1885 in Maidanovo, Russia. The libretto was written by Yakov Polonsky, and is based on the story CHRISTMAS EVE, part of a collection called EVENINGS ON A FARM NEAR DIKANKA, by Nikolai Gogol. The opera is a revision of Tchaikovsky's earlier opera VAKULA THE SMITH. The work was first performed in 1887 in Moscow.
The main thematic material of the second version of the opera is the same as in VAKULA THE SMITH. The alterations were caused by a wish to help the opera ‘out of the river of oblivion’ (letter by Tchaikovsky of 4 March, 1885). The editing primarily simplified some elements of musical texture. The lyric sphere of the opera was deepened by the introduction of a new aria inserted for Vakula. But the addition of the song of the School Teacher and the verses of His Highness enrich the genre part of the opera.”
“The Bolshoi had a remarkable dramatic tenor, Georgi Mikhailovich Nelepp, an artist of impeccable taste, with a beautiful, youthfully resonant voice. I have yet to hear a better Hermann in THE QUEEN OF SPADES. When I first joined the Bolshoi, we worked on FIDELIO together; that time ranks among the best memories of my career.”
- Galina Vishnevskaya, GALINA, pp.185-86
“A redoubtable baritone was Andrei Ivanov (easy to confuse with Alexei Ivanov, also an interesting singer). His voice was weightier than Lisitsian's and not quite so seamless technically. But he is the best Igor on records, the most specifically inflected Mazeppa. His large, dark instrument sustains and shades Rigoletto's tessitura impressively, and he lightens the sound with a lyrical, conversational touch for his Onégin. Both vocally and interpretively, he is the finest Russian dramatic baritone of the past sixty years, at least on the recorded evidence."
- Conrad L. Osborne