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- Smetana’s tragic opera 'Dalibor' from 1868 is now acknowledged as a masterpiece, containing some of his greatest music. It tells a tale of knightly ideals, chivalry, love and loyalty, with striking echoes of Fidelio, the story transports us to 15th-century Prague, where Dalibor is imprisoned having avenged the death of his musician friend Zdenk. The sister of his victim, Milada, is touched by his plight and disguises herself as a boy violinist in order to enter the gaol …
Smetana, saddened by 'Dalibor’s cool reception ('too Wagnerian' was one of the charges against it) always had faith that one day it would be appreciated and stand alongside 'The Bartered Bride', the work that overshadowed all his other operas to his great frustration.
This superb performance of this rarely heard opera was recorded live in the Barbican Hall, London. Conducted by Jiri Belohlávek, the all Czech cast and the BBC SO and BBC singers gave a performance that impressed all present, and the critics praised the performance: "Smetana’s melodic invention is given full rein, with a rapturous second-act love duet as its high-point. Belohlávek’s conducting was warm and wonderfully spacious in those purple passages…the cast, all Czech, was a very fine one" The Guardian.
"A brilliant all-Czech performance...The pivotal duets were gloriously sung, while chorus and orchestra honoured the full beauty of the score."
HMC902119/20 Smetana - The Bartered Bride
“an irresistible performance...Effervescent from overture to the finale, the BBC Symphony Orchestra plays with sheeny strings, while the BBC Singers deliver crisp and clear ensemble...although Dana Buresova and Tomas Juhas enjoy the sweetest melodies as the frustrated lovers, tenor Ales Voracek steals the show as the stuttering Vasek.” The Independent, 2nd December 2012 *****
ONYX4061 Martinu - The 6 Symphonies: BBCSO / Belohlavek
“Play them back to back and the inevitable risk is that they may all begin to sound too much alike, but such is Jiri Belohlavek's skill as a Martinu interpreter that the effect is still of impressive stylistic variety...In short, Belohlavek and the BBC SO are now my top recommendation for the Martinu symphonies” Gramophone Magazine, October 2011
Gramophone Award Winner, 2012
Advertised in Gramophone and BBC Music Magazine
- BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Ivan Kusnjer [King Vladislav]
Richard Samek [Dalibor, a Knight]
Aleš Vorácek [Vitek, Dalibor’s messenger]
Dana Burašová [Milada, sister of the Burgrave of Ploskovice]
Alžbeta Polácková [Jitka, a country girl]
Jan Stava [Benes, a jailor]
Svatopluk Sem [Budivoj, commander of the king’s castle guard]
- 2 CD - 2h 45mn 0s
release date. 2015-11-20