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 Search Beat > The Music Beat > Classical Music > Featured Composer > Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky > Opera Recommendations


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Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame / Gergiev, Kirov Opera
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Valery Gergiev
Performer: Irina Arkhipova, Olga Borodina, et al.
Ensemble: Kirov Theater Chorus, Kirov Theater Orchestra
Uni/Philips - #38141 / November 16, 1993

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The Queen of Spades was the opera that won Tchaikovsky the most popular acclaim in his lifetime, and with good reason. It's a powerfully dramatic story that offered the composer some irresistible opportunities. The Rococo setting encouraged Tchaikovsky to have a lot of fun in writing fake classical period dance and vocal music. But into this light-hearted and elegant atmosphere, the story itself presents the darkest possible picture of pathological obsession--with sex, gambling, money--all those...Read more


Tchaikovsky: Eugen Onegin / Levine, Allen, Freni, Von Otter
Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: James Levine
Performer: Thomas Allen, Paata Burchuladze, et al.
Ensemble: Dresden Staatskapelle, Leipzig Radio Chorus
Uni/Deutsche Grammophon - #23959 / March 13, 1989

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Levine has assembled a cast strong in both singing and acting, although Mirella Freni is a bit mature for the teenage Tatiana and there are no Russians in the leading roles. The conducting quite properly emphasizes the psychological and emotional extremes in a story deeply imbued with the Byronic attitudes and poses of literary Romanticism. The orchestra, in James Levine's (and Tchaikovsky's) hands becomes a character in this drama as vital as any of the singers, and Pushkin's poem-novel, the...Read more


Tchaikovsky: Mazeppa / Gergiev, Putilin, Alexashkin, et al

Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Conductor: Valery Gergiev
Performer: Sergei Alexashkin, Larissa Diadkova, et al.
Ensemble: Kirov Theater Chorus, Kirov Theater Orchestra
Uni/Philips - #462206 / April 14, 1998

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The conventional wisdom with Tchaikovsky's operas is that there are two great ones (Eugene Onegin and Pique Dame), two good ones (Iolantha and Maid of Orleans) and lots of other sad ones. What a surprise, then, that Mazeppa belongs at the top of the Tchaikovsky opera canon. It begins as a conventional love story between a warrior and a young maiden but turns darker than anything in Italian verismo and more emotionally complicated than most things in Richard Strauss. Though the Deutsche...Read more



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