A first release on CD for the first recording in stereo of Tchaikovsky’s operatic masterpiece.
With this and six companion issues, Eloquence makes available for the first time on CD the seven complete Russian operas recorded in 1955 by Decca with the company of the Belgrade Opera.
Fresh from a successful tour of ‘Boris Godunov’ in Switzerland the previous year, the Belgrade Opera in 1955 was keen to make an impression on an international public. At the same time, the Decca company perceived a cost-effective but artistically assured opportunity to expand both its small but rapidly growing stereo catalogue (launched the previous year with Ansermet and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande) and its opera discography with classics of the Russian opera repertoire which it had previously not been possible to record in the original language.
This ‘Onegin’ was welcomed with open arms as the first widely available recording in the original Russian but it was also valued for the idiomatic singing, informed by the company’s tradition of Russian opera performance which had been established in the 1930s. Special praise was reserved for the authentically youthful and sympathetically sung portrayal of Tatiana by Valeria Heybalova.
Recorded in both mono and stereo but originally issued only in mono, the stereo versions were finally released in Europe in the 1960s, by which time the Belgrade Opera had acquired an international reputation for excellence. The original stereo tapes are demonstration-quality examples of the renowned early Decca sound. The booklet for this newly remastered release prints both a synopsis and an essay by Peter Quantrill giving full historical context to the Belgrade opera recordings.
PIOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY
Larina, Mira Verčević
Tatyana, Valerija Heybal
Olga, Biserka Cvejić
Filipyevna, Melanija Bugarinović
Eugene Onegin, Dušan Popović
Lensky, Drago Starc
Prince Gremin, Miroslav Čangalović
Triquet, Stepan Andrashevich
Captain Trifon Petrovich, Aleksandar Veselinović
Zaretsky, Ilija Gligorijević
Chorus & Orchestra of the National Theatre, Belgrade
FIRST INTERNATIONAL CD RELEASE ON DECCA
Recording Producer: James Walker
Balance Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson (mono), Roy Wallace (stereo)
Recording Location: House of Culture, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 5–9 and 11 September 1955
Original LP Releases: Decca LXT 5159–61 mono; London XLL 1375–77 / XLLA 41 stereo; Decca ‘Ace of Clubs’ GOS 551–53 stereo
Remastering Engineer: Chris Bernauer
‘It is a vivid and feeling account of the work and I enjoyed it enormously.’ Gramophone
‘This spirited performance, well recorded, completely outdistances the now ancient [Bolshoi 1937] version.’ High Fidelity
‘This is a lovable performance … The intimate Chekovian atmosphere of the opening scenes is keenly felt with the voices well balanced as a team.’ Opera