Saturday, October 20, 2007


I mean...damn. What was the deal with the conspiracy against Tchaikovsky's 'other' operas? Listened to a Maid of Orleans production from SFO last year on the radio yesterday and it sounds AMAZING. Looks like the other three post-Onegin works--Cherevicki (an update of an earlier work called 'Vakula the Smith', The Enchantress, and Iolanta (Yolanda?)--are getting some play these days, but recordings are still few and far between. Projects, projects...

In other news, DZ was Joan of Arc in this recording, and besides sounding awesome, also did an intermission interview in which she noted she had added the 'Trud to her rep. Bonus.


Maury D'annato said...

Holy mole poblano. Dolora=Ortrud. Best of all is if she does it in the Wilson production and doesn't have to act.

Lisa Hirsch said...

Oh, now that would be great.

I saw that Maid of Orleans and am sorry to report that however it sounds without the visuals, it is a total suckass opera. Insanely stupid plot, mostly not such great music, etc.

Alex said...

That is a bummer...I suppose when one listens on the radio one selectively notices the nice parts. I am still holding out hope for "Yolanda" however.

Anonymous said...

zajick did joan of arc at carneige last season. and pique dame, his greatest opera is coming up in a seaon or two at the met. now, they just need to get heppner out of the cast. god, that man plagues me.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Lisa Hirsch: I thought Maid of Orleans was just fine, a terrific score (very Tchaikovskian and almost completely unfamiliar) attached to a flawed but workable libretto: just like a lot of our other favorite operas. Having seen and greatly enjoyed Mazepa and Iolanta (concert performance of the latter), I agree with Alex's original post -- we really need the lesser Tchaikovsky works.

What damages Maid of Orleans is also what is particularly fascinating about it. Just like in Queen of Spades, the composer has altered his famous literary source in order to shoehorn in his favorite theme: the sexual awakening of a young girl. Short, butch Delora defeats a helmeted English soldier on the battlefield, and when the helmet comes off, its -- Rodney Gilfry! So she completely loses it, as who wouldn't. Then a chorus of invisible warrior maidens appears to her and warns her that if she compromises her mission by loving a MAN, she will die! This was obviously important to Tchaikovsky but provokes titters in the audience.

I don't know why people try so hard to find the gay subtext in Tchaikovsky when it's usually sitting in plain view.

Alas, there's apparently no recommendable recording -- somebody call Gergiev!

As far as Iolanta goes, there may not be many recordings, but the Gergiev/Gorchakova/Gregorian CD is great. Get it if you don't have it.

Lisa Hirsch said...

No further comments of Maid of Orleans, but, yeah, Queen of Spades is fantastic. The current SFO production has some astonishingly stupid features, but I loved the opera so much I went back for seconds anyway. Robert, do you agree with that? ;-)

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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