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Jens F. Laurson
Ionarts, September 2013

The 2011 Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Festival was in rare form, which paid dividends…in Janáček. Their Makropulous Case has sweep and drama and ferocious energy, sometimes sardonic wit, then chilling severity. Angela Denoke as Emilia Marty aka Elina Makropulos is outstanding in every way. Christoph Marthaler’s direction, Anna Viebrock’s sets, and the period costumes are full of apt ambiance…and succeed in making Janáček’s magnificent music work on the audience in its direct way. © 2013 Ionarts Read complete review

Fred Cohn
Opera News, September 2012

JANACEK, L.: Vec Makropulos (The Makropulos Affair) (Salzburg Festival, 2011) (NTSC) 709508
JANACEK, L.: Vec Makropulos (The Makropulos Affair) (Salzburg Festival, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) 709604

Denoke’s Marty quite rightly dominates the proceedings. Painted in thick, Weimar-style makeup, she is both repellent and fascinating. The portrayal is entirely unsentimental: rather than giving her a Liebestod-like transfiguration, Marthaler simply has her walk offstage into oblivion. But Denoke manages nonetheless to suggest the human heart beating beneath the icy surface, especially through her singing. The voice is unbeautiful but complex and penetrating, with a haunted quality that suggests the tragedy of Marty’s situation.

The supporting cast is uniformly fine.

Salonen’s mastery of this opera manifests itself subtly; one is less aware of music being conducted than of a compelling drama unfolding at its natural pace. And no orchestra on earth is better suited to convey Makropulos’s hidden romanticism than the Vienna Philharmonic: for all of the music’s spikiness, this performance often suggests unheard rhapsodies, struggling to break through. © 2012 Opera News Read complete review

Mike Ashman
Gramophone, August 2012

JANACEK, L.: Vec Makropulos (The Makropulos Affair) (Salzburg Festival, 2011) (NTSC) 709508
JANACEK, L.: Vec Makropulos (The Makropulos Affair) (Salzburg Festival, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) 709604

The performance has class. The Vienna Philharmonic now play this score with greater naturalness and virtuosity than when they recorded it for Mackerras in 1978.

The singing is mostly terrific. Denoke has…technique and breathing to deliver…Her men are strong (Schmeckenbecher’s Kolenatý and Davies’s Hauk-Šendorf both free of caricatured barking and over-acting) and as for the Krista, Lithuanian Jurgita Adamonytė, it will probably not be just in this opera that she’ll have a distinctive future.

The greatest invention of the production is the physical stylisation of Marty’s uncomfortable ageing during the action. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Lawrence Devoe, May 2012

This is a mature work, completed near the end of Janáček’s life, based on a comedy by famed Czech playwright Karel Capek. This BD performance was recorded at the 2011 Salzburg Festival with Esa-Pekka Salonen leading the Wiener Philharmoniker. The sparse, modern staging was designed by Christoph Marthaler. The cast and orchestra are extremely strong and deliver as good a rendering of this unusual work as it is likely to get in today’s opera houses.

Maestro Salonen does a superb job with his orchestral forces, resisting the common impulse with Janacek’s potent score to overwhelm the singers on stage.

The brilliance of this opera really hinges on the ability of the lead soprano, in this case, Angela Denoke, to create a credible portrayal of a 337 year old diva, a “killer” role if there ever was one. I was particularly taken with the small but essential contribution of tenor Ryland Davies who at 68 delivers a brilliant portrayal of Baron Hauk-Sendorf, one of the previous Marty lovers. © 2012 Read complete review

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