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CHAN 3145M
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CHAN 3145
(multiple CD Set)

Janacek: Katya Kabanova

The Classical Shop
release date: October 2007

Originally recorded in 2007


Orchestra of Welsh National Opera

Carlo Rizzi

Owen Webb

baritone - Kuligin

Gwynne Howell

bass - Dikoi

Kathleen Wilkinson

mezzo-soprano - Glasha

Jane Henschel

mezzo-soprano - Marfa Kabanova

Victoria Simmonds

mezzo-soprano - Varvara

Sian Meinir

mezzo-soprano - Zena

Claire Hampton

soprano - Feklusha

Cheryl Barker

soprano - Katerina

Robert Brubaker

tenor - Boris Grigoryevich

Philip Lloyd-Holtam

tenor - Passer-by

Peter Hoare

tenor - Tichon Kabanov

Peter Wedd

tenor - Vanya Kudryash

Chorus of Welsh National Opera


Brangwyn Hall, Swansea


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Jonathan Cooper


Record Label
Opera In English



Orchestral & Concertos

Total Time - 91:08
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Katya Kabanova

  Opera in 3 acts  
  Libretto by the composer after Ostrovsky's play The Storm in the Czech translation by Cervinka, English translation by Norman Tucker, with revisions by Rodney Blumer and Henrietta Bredin  
  Act I  
  Scene 1  
1 [Introduction] 4:19
2 'Marvellous! Really, just admit it' 1:35
  Kudryash, Glasha  
3 'What d'you think you're hanging around for?' 0:57
  Dikoi, Boris  
4 'Is your mistress at home?' 3:23
  Dikoi, Glasha, Kudryash, Boris, Feklusha  
5 'All of them so good and pious' 2:03
  Feklusha, Boris, Kudryash  
6 'If you want to obey your mother' 4:31
  Kabanicha, Tichon, Katya, Varvara  
7 Intermezzo I 1:04
  Scene 2  
8 'I'm always wondering' 5:46
9 'Madness? Oh, how I wish I really knew' 2:57
  Katya, Varvara  
10 'Ah, but you, what can you know of this?' 1:56
  Katya, Varvara, Feklusha, Glasha, Tichon  
11 'Do you not love me any more?' 2:52
  Katya, Tichon  
12 'It's time, Tichon' 3:50
  Kabanicha, Tichon, Katya  
  Act II  
  Scene 1  
13 'There now, you're always boasting' 2:05
  Kabanicha, Katya  
14 'It's so warm indoors' 3:23
  Varvara, Katya, Dikoi, Kabanicha  
15 'No, no, no one, yet my heart was beating' 2:13
16 'It's nothing much' 2:38
  Dikoi, Kabanicha  
17 Intermezzo II 0:56
  Scene 2  
18 [Introduction] 1:05
19 'Nobody here yet!' 3:37
  Kudryash, Boris  
20 'Far away my love is gone across the water' 1:46
  Varvara, Kudryash, Boris  
21 'Is that you, Katerina Petrovna?' 5:26
  Boris, Katya  
22 'So you've found each other' 5:45
  Varvara, Boris, Kudryash, Katya  
  Act III  
  Scene 1  
23 'Raining!' 'There's a storm coming' 4:05
  Kuligin, Kudryash, Dikoi  
24 'Psst! Psst! Boris, listen to me!' 1:06
  Varvara, Boris  
25 'Oh, Varvara! I shall die!' 2:44
  Katya, Zena, Varvara, Chorus, Kudryash, Dikoi, Kabanicha, Tichon  
  Scene 2  
26 'Ah, Glasha! It's awful to think of it' 2:01
  Tichon, Glasha, Varvara, Kudryash  
27 'No! Nobody here' 5:20
  Katya, Kuligin  
28 'And yet death won't come to me' 4:27
  Katya, Boris  
29 'Thanks be to God!' 1:50
  Boris, Katya  
30 'No, not that!' 2:42
  Katya, Boris  
31 'Birds will sing as they fly above me' 0:49
32 'Hey there, a woman has jumped in the river!' 1:57
  Kuligin, Passer-by, Dikoi, Glasha, Tichon, Kabanicha  
 Jane Henschel mezzo-soprano - Marfa Kabanova
 Peter Hoare tenor - Tichon Kabanov
 Cheryl Barker soprano - Katerina
 Gwynne Howell bass - Dikoi
 Robert Brubaker tenor - Boris Grigoryevich
 Victoria Simmonds mezzo-soprano - Varvara
 Peter Wedd tenor - Vanya Kudryash
 Kathleen Wilkinson mezzo-soprano - Glasha
 Owen Webb baritone - Kuligin
 Claire Hampton soprano - Feklusha
 Sian Meinir mezzo-soprano - Zena
 Philip Lloyd-Holtam tenor - Passer-by
 Carlo Rizzi
  11-15 December 2006  
This is the only available recording in English

Cheryl Barker is fresh from performances with WNO.

Two-CD set at mid-price

One of Janàcek’s best loved and most tender operas.

Janácek wrote that Katya Kabanova, his sixth opera, was ‘one of my most tender works’, and his score contrasts extreme beauty with fateful oppression to wonderful emotional and passionate effect. Katya was partly inspired by Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, but perhaps more significantly by the young Kamila Stösslová with whom Janácek had become infatuated. He seemed to model his portrait of Katya on Kamila and in fact dedicated the opera to her. The tragic libretto portrays a woman driven to despair and suicide by her husband and monstrous mother-in-law. The result is a deeply moving, intensely lyrical work, as engaging in the beauty of the vocal and orchestral writing as in its story – which also revealed the tragedy of Slavic provincial life, of which Janácek was only too well aware: ‘There is much sadness and Slav tenderness and depth of feeling in it. May I find the right way to express it with equal intensity’, wrote Janácek on The Storm, the Ostrovsky play that was his source for Katya Kabanova.

Katya Kabanova is performed here with Cheryl Barker as Katya reprising her performance in the 2004 Welsh National Opera production. Jane Henschel sings the chief persecutor, Kabanicha, Robert Brubaker is Katya’s lover, Boris, while the Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera are conducted by Carlo Rizzi. Cheryl Barker is well known for her roles in Janácek operas and Robert Brubaker performs Boris on a regular basis. Carlo Rizzi is a conductor at The Metropolitan Opera, New York, The Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Opéra national de Paris – Bastille, Zurich Opera and at Teatro alla Scala in his home town Milan. This is his debut on Chandos.

This is the latest in the Peter Moores opera in English series, with Cheryl Barker giving a moving and beautifully sung performance as the adorable and tragic Katya, racked with guilt and tormented by emotional repression, surely Janácek’s greatest female creation (and I haven’t forgotten Jenufa). Robert Brubaker is in excellent voice as her lover, the hapless Boris. Jane Henschel is the hellish mother-in-law Kabanicha (perhaps a little too kindly at times). The young lovers Kudrash and Varavara are splendidly portrayed by peter Wedd and Victoria Simmonds. The WNO orchestra knows its Janácek, and Carlo Rizzi conducts a generally fine performance.
Sunday Telegraph

This is the fifth Janácek opera in Chandos opera in English series, and with the vivid, well separated sound, balancing the voices in front of the orchestra the first impression is how clear the words are from the singers of the Welsh national Opera production on which the recording is based… Another outstanding issue in the Opera in English series.

This is the fifth Janácek opera in Chandos’ Opera in English series, and with vivid, well separated sound, balancing the voices in front of the orchestra, the first impression is how clear the words are from the singers of the Welsh National Opera production on which this recording is based. This is a very welcome companion to the outstanding English version of The Markopulos Case conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras… Another outstanding issue in the Opera in English series.

An English language Katya Kabanova is the latest in the Chandos/Peter Moores Foundation series of Opera in English, which has already given us several distinguished additions to the Janácek discography; Here I’m happy to report, is another… Her [Cheryl Barker] performance of the final scene is overwhelming – as with her Marty, Barker’s sense of singing line marks her out as one of the great Janácek interpreters, allied to her perceptive character portrayal.
International Record Review

Cheryl Barker played and sang Katya to perfection…
Cornish Guardian

This the fourth of Janácek’s operas to appear in Chandos’s English language series, and in many ways it is one of the most successful. The balance between singers and orchestra is ideal, allowing the words to come across with clarity yet never compromising the richness and impact of the composer’s orchestration.

Critic’s Choice Edward Greenfield

Janácek called this ‘one of my most tender works’. But Norman Tucker’s English translation, with revisions by Rodney Blumer and Henrietta Bredin, is the real point of this record of WNO’s 2004 staging. Czech is one of the few operatic languages, in my view, where English-speaking audiences are better-off listening to their native tongue; so this is a worthy addition to Chandos’ Opera in English series, especially distinguished by Cheryl Barker’s outstanding performance in the title role.
The Observer

Reviews of Welsh National Opera’s 2004 performances of Katya Kabanova
Cheryl Barker’s Katya is a huge achievement, rapturously sung, pertinently acted…
Venue Magazine

Janácek’s terrifying, glorious opera, born of his own unrequited love for another man’s wife, is given the Chandos treatment. The Australian soprano Cheryl Barker cements her Janácek credentials with a richly voice Katya, fleeing wide-eyed from her evil mother-in-law Kabanicha (a steely Jane Hensche) and mother-pecked husband (Peter Hoare). The conductor Carlo Rizzi draws out the undertow of sorrow with ecstatic echoes of Madama Butterfly.
The Times

The English diction of almost the entire cast is outstanding, Gwynne Howell’s disagreeable old Dikoi sets the standard, and Peter Wedd (Kudryash) brings an intimacy to the text that greatly enhances the listening experience.
Sunday Times

Stiff competition there may be from recordings in the original Czech, yet the latest Janácek release from Chandos, part of the Opera in English series, can bear comparison to the best
Classic FM

Rizzi… has his own Janacek style. Katya is less spiky , more intimate and lyrical than Makropulos, and Rizzi illuminates this with almost Puccinian warmth, while keenly evoking the tightening tensions beneath. The studio recording too, lets his excellent cast handle the translation more expressively, especially Barker’s harried heroine.
BBC Music Magazine 'Choice'

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