Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Daniel Morrison
Fanfare, May 2012

Kitezh…deals with a national tragedy, the conquest of Russia by an unstoppable wave of relentless killers who were very good at their work, in the Mongol invasion of the 13th century.

The two scenes of the final act are the most convincing in terms of staging. For the opening forest scene we are given a couple of abstract representations of trees and two huge bird-like shapes above the stage. The final scene, in the transformed Kitezh, is very abstract but at least seems suggestive of the setting and reasonably effective.

…the musical results are more consistently rewarding. Most of the major roles are taken by capable Russian singers. Tatiana Monogarova is outstanding in the most important role, that of Fevroniia. She looks the part…and has an ample voice of pleasing quality. She spins her lines beautifully, with radiant tone, powerful, unstrained high notes, and the strength and weight in her lower register that is traditionally characteristic of Russian dramatic sopranos. The strong and sumptuous bass of Mikhail Kazakov is well suited to the role of Prince Yury, the benevolent ruler of Kitezh. His portrayal emphasizes dignity and nobility rather than the passionate anguish some others have displayed in this role when lamenting the fate of the endangered city. Mikhail Gubsky is excellent in the character role of the drunkard Grishka, effectively representing this tormented figure without becoming too grating. Gevorg Hakobyan gives a solid performance as Fedor Poyarok, the court huntsman, who after being blinded by the Tatars carries the news of their ravages to Great Kitezh. The Tatar chieftains Bedyay and Burunday are suitably gruff and coarse. The roles of the Page Boy and the Birds of Paradise, Sirin and Alkonost, are well sung. Conductor Aleksandr Vedernikov…paces the work deliberately but effectively. The Cagliari orchestra plays accurately, with good ensemble and coordination between stage and pit, and…produces a powerful enough sonority when necessary. The chorus is proficient and reliable.

The stereo sound is for the most part very good, with clarity, spaciousness, impact, and a balance that favors the singers. The voices are well focused and not shadowed by reverberation. The orchestral presence is always satisfactory, if not particularly detailed. Stage noise, too, is minimal. Picture quality is very good, and the camerawork provides a suitable balance between distance shots and close-ups…

…I must give a qualified recommendation to the Naxos DVD, for a fine musical performance…© 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Richard Traubner
Opera News, May 2012

DVD: RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, N.A.: Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh (The) (Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, 2008) (NTSC) 2.110277–78
CD: RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, N.A.: Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya (The) (Kazakov, Panfilov, Cagliari Theatre, Vedernikov) 8.660288–90

The principals are for the most part Russian and sing quite well, though other parts are taken by Italians. The ghostly suitor is robustly sung by Vitaly Panfilov. Tatiana Monogarova, a singer celebrated for her Tatiana in Eugene Onegin at the Bolshoi, is the lovely Fevronia. Mikhail Gubsky is quite touching as Grishka, and the two Tartar chiefs—Bedyay (sung by Valery Gilmanov) and Burunday (Alexander Naumenko)—are also striking. The chorus of the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari sings nicely in Russian. The entire opera is conducted with considerable panache by Alexander Vedernikov. © 2012 Opera News Read complete review

Michael Scott Rohan
BBC Music Magazine, April 2012

The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh is perhaps the most unusual of Russian Romantic operas with its intensely spiritual content. It’s also the most lyrically beautiful…These are murderously difficult roles, but Tatiana Monogarova is just about the best Fevronia I’ve seen, vocally clear and sturdy. © 2012 BBC Music Magazine, January 2012

Kitezh stands as an excellent summation of Rimsky-Korsakov’s approach to the stage and to orchestration as well…music is, with strong vocal writing and beautifully supportive orchestration in a through-composed work that uses Wagnerian techniques without sounding one bit like Wagner…this Naxos DVD is particularly welcome for making its brilliant musical colors and oddly fascinating thematic mixture of legend and religion available to a wider audience. © 2012 Read complete review

The Flip Side, January 2012

Rimsky-Korsakov’s glorious music is well-played by the orchestra under conductor Alexander Vedernikov and the vocalists, led by soprano Tatiana Monogarova and bass Mikhail Kazakov, are luminous… © 2012 The Flip Side Read complete review

WQXR (New York), December 2011

Operavore 2011 Gift Guide

RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, N.A.: Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh (The) (Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, 2008) (NTSC) 2.110277–78
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, N.A.: Snow Maiden Suite (The) / Sadko, Musical Picture / Mlada Suite / The Golden Cockerel Suite (Seattle Symphony, Schwarz) 8.572787
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, N.A.: Scheherazade / Tale of Tsar Saltan Suite (Seattle Symphony, Schwarz) 8.572693
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV, N.A.: Capriccio espagnol / Overtures (Seattle Symphony, Schwarz) 8.572788

Naxos is on a Russian roll this month with a double-hitter from this member of The Five. Bass Mikhail Kazakov, who made an impressive star turn in Dallas earlier this year in the title role of Boris Godunov, headlines the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari’s The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, a dreamy work widely thought to be the Russian Parsifal. Also out this month on Naxos are orchestral suites from several of Rimsky-Korsakov’s other operas, including The Snow Maiden, Sadko and Le Coq d’or. Gerard Schwarz and the Seattle Symphony are in incredibly fine form with this repertoire, which you can also hear on recordings of Scheherazade and Capriccio espagnol, also released on Naxos this past May and September, respectively. © 2011 Operavore/WQXR (New York)

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group