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Reviews: Glinka: Ruslan and Lyudmila - Vedernikov

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Reviews: 2

Review by Dinko June 4, 2004 (10 of 10 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is the Ruslan and Lyudmila we've been waiting for.

Previous recordings disappeared out of print faster than you can say "poof!", and most featured questionable sound. There is one widely available version: Gergiev and the Kirov Opera. The conductor there manages to completely ruin the whole work. Just take the speed at which Gergiev conducts the finale: instead of a glorious ending, the Kirov orchestra and singers sound like drunken amateurs on a speed singing contest. It's a pure mess from beginning to end.

On this recording, Vedernikov's tempi are more measured, more natural. The music flows. It doesn't run. It's a fairy tale after all, not a Formula 1 race. The singers are all excellent. Sure, there are a couple of spots where a different cast might have done better, but overall, there are no complaints here. The chorus is clear, singing rather than shouting. The Bolshoi orchestra is fantastic. Performance-wise, there is little if anything that I would complain about.

Sonically, this is one of the better SACDs I've heard so far.

In multichannel, the orchestra, the chorus and soloists are in perfect balance. Virtually every detail of the orchestration is crystal clear, the different vocal timbres of the choir nicely separated, the soloists in good perspective, all the while harmony and balance between the assembled forces is maintained. The violins are bright, but always nice and warm. There is good separation between the various string voices. The brass instruments are the most spectacular: recorded with a true three-dimensional sonority. They are never two-dimensional, squeeky or congested. Percussion has just the right amount of bang and reverb.
In other words, this thing sounds like a concert. I'll go even further and say that it actually sounds better than a concert.

This new critical version goes back to the original Glinka scores and attempts to recreate the opera as it was meant to be heard, rather than the version which has been played in the past century.

A very special Thank You to Pentatone for releasing this. I've waited a long time to hear Ruslan and Lyudmila given the proper treatment. The result is worth the wait.

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Review by gonzostick December 22, 2010 (4 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
OUTSTANDING! The best recording of the great Russian classic opera and it's on SACD!!! WOW...

The singing is great, the orchestra plays beautifully, and there's almost NO slavic wobble in the singers. Recording stems from live performances in 2003, so there is plenty of frisson.

I have heard the previous recordings of this opera and most are not up to this level, in the singing or in the pacing by the conductor.

The recording is one of Pentatone's best.

Do not miss, if you love opera.

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