Vladimir Jurowski

Sergei Prokofiev: Betrothal in a Monastery

  • AllMusic Rating
    10
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Prokofiev wrote Betrothal in a Monastery in less than three months, in the midst of the turmoil of 1940. The opera is similar in some ways to his only other comedy, Love for Three Oranges, written in 1919. They are based on nearly contemporaneous late eighteenth century plays with plots that are patently absurd, for which Prokofiev provided music of matching whimsicality. Both scores are jumpy, kaleidoscopic, and unpredictable. Love for Three Oranges is a fairy tale and its music is altogether spikier, while Betrothal in a Monastery, a comedy of manners set in Seville, is clearly late Prokofiev, with the idiom of Romeo and Juliet crazily skewed and fragmented. In the later opera, the music is consistently zany and entertaining, but it really takes off in the third and fourth acts and becomes genuinely memorable. This recording is taken from a 2006 Glyndebourne production directed by Daniel Slater and Robert Innes Hopkins that must have been a blast based on the frequent explosions of audience laughter. The entire cast (which is largely Russian) performs with complete mastery of the complex score and with the wild abandon needed to bring the far-fetched story fully to life. It's very much an ensemble piece and it succeeds because there are no weak links. Standouts include Lyubov Petrova, Andrey Breus, Vsevolod Grivnov, Alan Opie, and especially Viacheslav Voynarovskiy and Sergei Alexashkin as the primary schemers. Alexandra Durseneva, in the central role of the Duenna, does not have a conventionally beautiful voice, but she's ideal for the role of the old woman whose machinations finally bring the young lovers together. Vladimir Jurowski, the musical director of the festival, leads the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Chorus in a vibrant and sparkling performance. The sound is excellent for a live recording, with good balance between the voices and orchestra.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Betrothal in a Monastery ("The Duenna"), opera, Op. 86
1 01:48 Amazon
2 02:41 Amazon
3 03:43 Amazon
4 03:50 Amazon
5 03:16 Amazon
6 02:02 Amazon
7 02:07 Amazon
8 03:16 Amazon
9 02:52 Amazon
10 03:33 Amazon
11 02:39 Amazon
12 03:39 Amazon
13 02:02 Amazon
14 01:10 Amazon
15 01:47 Amazon
16 01:57 Amazon
17 02:57 Amazon
18 02:32 Amazon
19 02:00 Amazon
20 05:53 Amazon
21 02:22 Amazon
22 02:58 Amazon
23 03:39 Amazon
24 04:17 Amazon
25 02:29 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Betrothal in a Monastery ("The Duenna"), opera, Op. 86
1 02:26 Amazon
2 02:02 Amazon
3 02:45 Amazon
4 03:06 Amazon
5 02:49 Amazon
6 02:28 Amazon
7 02:10 Amazon
8 02:57 Amazon
9 02:08 Amazon
10 06:17 Amazon
11 03:24 Amazon
12 03:15 Amazon
13 02:11 Amazon
14 02:05 Amazon
15 05:03 Amazon
16 02:37 Amazon
17 02:13 Amazon
18 01:20 Amazon
19 02:01 Amazon
20 02:06 Amazon
21 03:05 Amazon
22 05:08 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick