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Thread: Dvořák’s The Jacobin

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    Default Dvořák’s The Jacobin

    I have just read a couple of five star reviews of Dvořák’s The Jacobin (OMH, Guardian) with Jiří Bělohlávek and BBCSO at the Barbican yesterday. I will confess that I had never even heard of it before. It's being broadcast this Thursday at 14.00 and would seem to be a "must hear".

    http://www.musicomh.com/classical/ba...cobin_0212.htm

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012...jacobin-review

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    Sounds good. Dvorak wrote 10 operas, nicely spaced throughout his life. Russalka is the only one known to any degree outside central Europe, which is a pity, since Dvorak considered them a major part of his output. But then, we don't know any of Rimsky Korsakov's 19 operas, beyond The Golden Cockerel (if, indeed, we know that).

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    Yes: definite candidates for the "know about but don't know" Thread - something to put on the "must listen" list. Thanks for the "nudge", gurney!

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    Dvorak seems to be unlucky abroad with his operas. Rusalka with its origins in The Little Mermaid will always be popular despite some wierd productions (The Paris Opera DVD has poor Renee Fleming floundering between a swimming pool and a hotel room).

    The Jacobin suffers the same logistical problem as War and Peace and The Damnation of Faust: ie it requires onstage battling armies. Both operas were successful at ENO so this problem should be surmountable in this day of hi tech solutions. Musically it is fabulous: better in my opinion than Rusalka.

    I cannot understand why the hilarious The Devil and Kate has not taken off in the west. Imagine Orpheus and Euridice viewed the wrong way down a telecope: Marbuel, a Devil, snatches the loud mouthed harridan Kate and takes her to hell. Trouble is she won't stop moaning, so the Devil has to persuade her boyfriend to take her back. It is full of extra Slavonic dances, is a designer's dream, and is played in the Prague National Theatre almost every Sunday morning to full houses of children.

    The Stubborn Lovers is fun, the sort of silly love story (a bit like The Bartered Bride) that Rossini or Donizetti would have revelled in.

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    The Paris production of Rusalka was wonderful to behold live with much use of, supposed, reflection in both the vertical and horizontal planes with a spectacular "coup"at the end of Act 1 when the whole set went up to reveal its reflection. While being a modern day setting it did lack the charm and visual back-up for the narrative but had its own logic - one wonders about the upcoming ROH version!

    I might well agree with with you, Chris, about the relative merits of Rusalka and The Jacobin - the Barbican performance live in the Hall was a total joy assisted by a, largely, Czech cast and conductor. Sadly, apart from Dmitij, I don't know his other stage scores.

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    I am probably unfair to the Paris Rusalka, Nick, as I only have the DVD to go by which could well short change the production. Certainly, flooded stages can work as proven by the recent magnificent Madrid Katya Kabanova (also under Belohlavec) on the FRA DVD label. There the camerawork takes full advantage of the reflections in the pool. I hope to see the ROH version of Rusalka on the 1st of March and will let you know what I think. I do envy you for getting to The Jacobin at the weekend. I am afraid that the weather forecast prevented me from going to it. I hope, after reading such excellent reviews that a recording will come out of the performance.

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    The ROH Rusalka will prove controversial, I fear. It's a staging from the 2008 Salzburg Festival, so you can read reviews/ see photographs online... the words '1970s bordello' crop up!

    Mind you, I reviewed a DVD of Rusalka from Munich which, though musically excellent, was even more controversial, taking inspiration, if that's the right word, from the Josef Fritzl case. http://www.opera-britannia.com/index...3Advd&Itemid=1

    I look forward to catching up with The Jacobin on Thursday. I so nearly bought a ticket for Saturday, but ducked out. Mind you, the travel situation coming home would have been a nightmare, I suspect.
    Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Il I look forward to catching up with [I
    The Jacobin[/I] on Thursday. I so nearly bought a ticket for Saturday, but ducked out. Mind you, the travel situation coming home would have been a nightmare, I suspect.
    Yes 3.5hours in the snow to Barnet - gridlocked in places and touch and go as to whether I would get home !

    However it was worth it for an excellent evening at the Barbican - it was very well done with a staging somewhere between concert and semi-staged. The critics appear to have loved it and I thought it would be at least 4 stars. You can see why it doesn't done much outside Czech republic - the story is a mix of light "folk" humour and 1790s revolutionary ideals. Neither of which entirely fill the opera - it is a part L'elisir d'amore/Don Pasquale with a bit of the fervour of Fidelio added in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amac4165 View Post
    Yes 3.5hours in the snow to Barnet - gridlocked in places and touch and go as to whether I would get home !

    However it was worth it for an excellent evening at the Barbican - it was very well done with a staging somewhere between concert and semi-staged. The critics appear to have loved it and I thought it would be at least 4 stars. You can see why it doesn't done much outside Czech republic - the story is a mix of light "folk" humour and 1790s revolutionary ideals. Neither of which entirely fill the opera - it is a part L'elisir d'amore/Don Pasquale with a bit of the fervour of Fidelio added in.
    I think this country needs some Fidelio revolutionary ideals

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    At last I have caught up with The Jacobin on iPlayer (which is behaving at last). Utterly delightful. What a super cast!!

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