Code: 4527


Normally: $39.95


Product Description


A “double bill” of two Russian operatic masterpieces. Legendary bass Evgeny Nesterenko stars in the title role of Aleko (1892), an early work of Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943), written the composer was still a student at the Moscow Conservatory. Strongly influenced by the Italian verismo school (the plot is a close relation to that of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci), the score is full of colorful evocations of Gypsy life and passionate emotional outpourings. The cast of this expansive 1986 film version, directed by Victor Okuntsov, includes members of Gypsy folk ensembles, adding to the production’s striking authenticity.

By contrast, Kashchey the Immortal (sometimes called Kashchey the Deathless) is very much a mature work of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908); it was the composer’s twelfth opera, and premiered in 1902. Moreover, its mythic setting and magical storyline (drawn from the same Russian folk tale that inspired Stravinsky’s ballet The Firebird) are worlds away from Aleko’s gritty realism. This 1987 Russian film version stars the great singing actor Konstantin Pluzhnikov in the title role (Pluzhnikov is also the Kaschey in the acclaimed CD recording conducted by Valery Gergiev). Directed by Oleg Yeryshev, the film goes far beyond what could be achieved in a stage production, adding clarity, depth, and spectacle to this poignant fairy tale.
Color, 124 minutes, 4:3, All regions

Opera in One Act
Music by Sergei Rachmaninoff
Libretto by Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko
Based on “The Gypsies” by Alexander Pushkin

Aleko - Evgeny Nesterenko
Zemfira - Nelli Volshaninova (sung by Svetlana Volkova)
Old Gypsy - Vladimir Golovin (sung by Vladimir Matorin)
Old Gypsy Woman - Maria Papazian (sung by Raisa Kotova)
Young Gypsy - Sandor Semenov (sung by Mikhail Muntyan)

Moscow State Symphony Orchestra and Gosteleradio Chorus
Dimitri Kitayenko, conductor

Opera in One Act
Music and Libretto by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Kashchey the Immortal - Konstantin Pluzhnikov
Kashcheyevna - Natalya Lapina (sung by E. Rubin)
Princess - Alla Oding (sung by Sofia Yalysheva)
Prince Ivan Korolevich - Valery Lebedev
The Storm Knight - Yuri Stoyanov (sung by Alexander Morozov)

Dmitri Shostakovich Symphony Orchestra of Leningrad
A. Trifonov, conductor