Valery Gergiev / Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater Opera / Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater Orchestra

Sergey Prokofiev: 6 Operas

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The musical world is forever in Valery Gergiev's debt for bringing to light a wealth of Russian operas that had been largely invisible to audiences in the West. With the formidable forces he has groomed at the Kirov Opera and Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, he has given the operas spectacular productions that have demanded a critical re-thinking of the Russian repertoire. Not least among his accomplishments is his rehabilitation (or more accurately, his establishment for the first time) of Prokofiev's reputation as a major opera composer. Love for Three Oranges and War and Peace have hovered around the fringes of the repertoire, but the wit of Betrothal in a Monastery and the devastating power of The Fiery Angel (perhaps the composer's masterpiece) have shed new light on the extent of Prokofiev's dramatic gifts. Gergiev has proved himself a master of Prokofiev's many styles and there's not a weak performance among these six operas, constituting all but one of the composer's mature completed works in the genre. (His last opera, The Story of a Real Man, is so weighted down by the bland requirements and constraints of "Soviet realism" that it rarely rises above banality, and it is almost universally regarded as one of his weakest works. Gergiev, one of the composer's most ardent advocates, hasn't recorded it.) Gergiev's versions of the operas can be recommended without reservation. Besides his commanding leadership, they offer stellar orchestral playing and first-rate soloists, many of which are of star quality, who deliver idiomatic and dramatically charged interpretations. For The Gambler, The Fiery Angel, Semyon Kotko, and Betrothal in a Monastery, it's fairly safe to assert that these are the definitive recordings. Love for Three Oranges and War and Peace have been recorded frequently enough that listeners have a wealth of fine versions to choose from, but they can't go wrong with Gergiev's. Three of the operas were recorded in a studio setting and three were recorded live, so the sound varies in its depth and definition, but it is far more than adequate throughout. Decca's bargain price for the 14-disc set (about what two of the individual operas would cost), and the fact that some of the performances are not available individually, make this a collection that should interest any fan of Prokofiev or 20th century opera.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Betrothal in a Monastery (The Duenna)
1 2:00
2 3:07
3 4:04
4 4:12
5 3:48
6 2:13
7 3:25
8 3:13
9 3:18
10 4:45
11 2:56
12 3:51
13 2:34
14 1:14
15 1:55
16 2:08
17 2:48
18 3:03
19 1:37
20 6:14
21 2:30

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Betrothal in a Monastery (The Duenna)
1 3:28
2 4:16
3 5:05
4 2:33
5 2:39
6 2:06
7 3:04
8 3:14
9 3:48
10 3:07
11 2:32
12 3:55
13 2:17
14 6:55
15 4:22
16 3:35

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Betrothal in a Monastery (The Duenna)
1 2:16
2 2:12
3 5:45
4 2:51
5 2:09
6 1:29
7 2:19
8 2:37
9 2:59
10 5:52

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Fiery Angel, Op. 37
1 6:18
2 10:04
3 5:00
4 5:18
5 3:58
6 3:26
7 4:46
8 4:07
9 2:31
10 2:44
11 2:05
12 4:32

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Fiery Angel, Op. 37
1 5:59
2 6:29
3 2:36
4 3:40
5 7:19
6 5:25
7 3:46
8 8:27
9 4:13
10 2:13
11 3:56
12 4:11
13 5:47

Track Listing - Disc 6

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Gambler, Op. 24
1 6:42
2 8:24
3 5:40
4 4:14
5 6:26
6 4:07
7 8:45
8 8:46

Track Listing - Disc 7

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
The Gambler, Op. 24
1 4:19
2 6:03
3 4:47
4 4:53
5 6:24
6 7:26
7 1:35
8 6:02
9 6:23
10 2:24
11 6:11
12 5:10

Track Listing - Disc 8

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Love For Three Oranges, Op. 33
1 4:04
2 5:05
3 3:30
4 4:01
5 3:44
6 6:25
7 6:41
8 2:36
9 2:55
10 1:46
11 2:54
12 2:46
13 3:32

Track Listing - Disc 9

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Love For Three Oranges, Op. 33
1 4:54
2 3:57
3 1:53
4 6:00
5 4:02
6 3:10
7 3:04
8 7:17
9 5:05
10 3:48
11 4:56
12 3:35

Track Listing - Disc 10

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Semyon Kotko, Op. 81
1 3:22
2 3:12
3 2:31
4 1:36
5 1:29
6 2:27
7 1:15
8 4:35
9 2:14
10 4:59
11 1:46
12 2:39
13 1:35
14 1:48
15 1:27
16 1:15
17 2:05
18 2:21
19 3:10
20 2:46
21 2:48
22 3:08
23 3:37

Track Listing - Disc 11

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Semyon Kotko, Op. 81
1 4:02
2 2:34
3 2:30
4 1:48
5 1:39
6 3:47
7 3:01
8 3:22
9 0:52
10 2:01
11 1:36
12 1:21
13 2:19
14 3:27
15 4:28
16 2:51
17 3:40
18 3:34
19 2:11
20 1:05
21 1:46
22 4:53
23 3:52
24 3:37
25 3:41
26 3:25
27 3:47
28 1:07
blue highlight denotes track pick