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 Search Beat > The Music Beat > Classical Music > Featured Composer > Sergei Prokofiev > Opera Recommendations


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Prokofiev: War and Peace / Valery Gergiev, Kirov Opera

Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor: Valery Gergiev
Performer: Sergei Alexashkin, Genadij Bezzubenkov, et al.
Ensemble: Kirov Theater Chorus, Kirov Theater Orchestra
Uni/Philips - #34097 / September 14, 1993

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Valery Gergiev's version of this long and involved opera demonstrates one of the benefits of an ensemble system (particularly when the ensemble members have no place else to go). It offers a huge and generally outstanding cast, including the luxe casting of the remarkable Olga Borodina in the minor role of Helene. The Kirov edition is uncut, although the listener may discover that there are often pretty good reasons for traditional excisions. The sound is quite good. Gergiev and company may also...Read more


Prokofiev: The Fiery Angel / Gergiev, Gorchakova, Leiferkus
Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor: Valery Gergiev
Performer: Sergei Alexashkin, Yevgeny Boitsov, et al.
Ensemble: Kirov Theater Chorus, Kirov Theater Orchestra
Uni/Philips - #46078 / October 17, 1995

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This is a piece in many ways better experienced with both the visual and aural aspects (and, in fact, there is a fine video of this production available from Philips), but the score is powerful on its own. Soprano Galina Gorchakova is dramatically and vocally astounding in the role of Renata, which she makes her own; Sergey Leiferkus, usually heard singing unidiomatic Italian or French roles in the West, is much more at home as the knight Ruprecht. The large supporting cast shows the merits of...Read more


Prokofiev: October Cantata, etc / Jrvi, Philharmonia Orch
Composer: Sergei Prokofiev
Conductor: Neeme Jrvi
Performer: Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Ensemble: Philharmonia Chorus, Philharmonia Orchestra
Chandos - #9095 / October 5, 1992

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Prokofiev's cantata is a scream, literally. Obviously no one cares about the occasion for which it was written--and, in fact, the music proved so complicated that it wasn't performed until 1966, 13 years after the composer's death. Scored for huge orchestra, choruses, a folk band of manic accordion players, extra brass, and the shouting-amplified "voice of Lenin" (here intoned with impressive volume by conductor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky), the piece makes the most ear-splitting din...Read more



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