Prokofiev - Semyon Kotko | Melodiya MELCD1002120

Prokofiev - Semyon Kotko

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Label: Melodiya

Cat No: MELCD1002120

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 3

Genre: Opera

Release Date: 3rd March 2014

Contents

Artists

Nikolai Gres
Tamara Yanko
Tamara Antipova
Nikolai Panchekhin
Antonina Kleshchyova
Lyudmila Gelovani
Gennady Troitsky
Daniil Demianov
Nikolai Timchenko
Mikhail Kiselyov
Tatiana Tugarinova
Mechislav Shchavinski
Leonid Neverov
Vladimir Zakharov
Boris Dobrin
Miroslav Markov
Nikolai Brilling
Antonina Savosina
Tamara Medvedeva
Nina Kulagina
Alexander Tikhonov
Ivan Kartavenko
Alexei Stepanov
Georgy Ostrovsky
All-Union Radio Choir
All-Union Symphony Orchestra

Conductor

Mikhail Zhukov

Works

Prokofiev, Sergei

Semyon Kotko, op.81

Artists

Nikolai Gres
Tamara Yanko
Tamara Antipova
Nikolai Panchekhin
Antonina Kleshchyova
Lyudmila Gelovani
Gennady Troitsky
Daniil Demianov
Nikolai Timchenko
Mikhail Kiselyov
Tatiana Tugarinova
Mechislav Shchavinski
Leonid Neverov
Vladimir Zakharov
Boris Dobrin
Miroslav Markov
Nikolai Brilling
Antonina Savosina
Tamara Medvedeva
Nina Kulagina
Alexander Tikhonov
Ivan Kartavenko
Alexei Stepanov
Georgy Ostrovsky
All-Union Radio Choir
All-Union Symphony Orchestra

Conductor

Mikhail Zhukov

About

Firma Melodiya presents a recording of one of Sergey Prokofiev’s least frequently performed operas, Semyon Kotko. It was the first opera Prokofiev composed after he returned to the Soviet Union. It took him a long time to find a source for the plot. “I wanted to have living people with their passions, love, hate, joy and sorrow naturally ensuing from the new conditions”, the composer remembered. Prokofiev eventually chose a novel titled “I, Son of Working People” by Valentin Katayev who agreed to rework it into an opera libretto. Vsevolod Meyerhold, a director, old friend and companion, was supposed to stage the new opera but he fell victim to the Stalinist terror.

The opera was premiered in 1940 in Moscow and, as was the case with other outstanding works of that time, was a great success with the public and severely criticized ‘from above’. Even today, bright and figurative music of Semyon Kotko, with its genuinely Gogol-esque humour and genre scenes from everyday life of a Ukrainian village, neat descriptions of the characters, passionate dramatism and monumental chorus scenes, cannot leave a keen listener indifferent.

The opera Semyon Kotko was recorded in 1960 by soloists of the Moscow opera theatres and the All-Union Radio Choir and Orchestra conducted by Mikhail Zhukov. This remarkable musician was taught by Nikolai Golovanov and Konstantin Stanislavsky. The latter acknowledged Zhukov as an “exemplary music director who was able to decrypt the life of human spirit hidden in the score and explain it to an actor”. Zhukov conducted at the premiere of Semyon Kotko at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre, and its recording became the conductor’s last work.

Cast:
- Semyon Kotko, a demobilized soldier (tenor): Nikolai Gres
- Semyon’s mother (mezzo-soprano): Tamara Yanko
- Frosya, Semyon’s sister (mezzo-soprano): Tamara Antipova
- Tkachenko, a former sergeant major (bass): Nikolai Panchekhin
- Khivrya, his wife (mezzo-soprano): Antonina Kleshchyova
- Sofya, their daughter (soprano): Lyudmila Gelovani
- Remeniuk, chairman of the village soviet and commander of a partisan unit (bass): Gennady Troitsky
- Ivasenko, an old man (bass): Daniil Demianov
- Mikola, his son (tenor): Nikolai Timchenko
- Tsaryov, a sailor (baritone): Mikhail Kiselyov
- Lyubka, Tsaryov’s fiancée (soprano): Tatiana Tugarinova
- Workman, the former landowner in the name of Klembovsky (tenor): Mechislav Shchavinski
- Interpreter (tenor): Leonid Neverov
- Von Wierhof, lieutenant in the German army (tenor): Vladimir Zakharov
- Bandura player (baritone): Boris Dobrin
- Young man (bass): Miroslav Markov
- German sergeant: Nikolai Brilling
- Village women: Antonina Savosina, Tamara Medvedeva, Nina Kulagina
- Villagers: Alexander Tikhonov, Ivan Kartavenko
- Old men: 1st: Alexei Stepanov, Arnold Lokshin
- 1st Haidamak: Arnold Lokshin
- 2nd Haidamak: Georgy Ostrovsky

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