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CHAN 9855
(multiple CD Set)
Opera - War and Peace

Prokofiev: War And Peace

The Classical Shop
release date: June 2000

Recorded in 24 Bit / 44.1Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 1999


Spoleto Festival Orchestra

Richard Hickox

Thomas Guthrie

baritone - Colonel Vasska Denisov

Stephen Dupont

baritone - Count Ilya Rostov

Igor Matioukhin

baritone - Lieutenant Dolokhov

Alan Opie

baritone - Napoleon Bonaparte

Roderick Williams

baritone - Prince Andrey Bolkonsky

Alan Ewing

bass - Prince Mikhail Kutuzov

Vladimir Ognev

bass - Prince Nikolay Bolkonsky

Victoria Livengood

contralto - Mariya Akrosimova

Elena Ionova

mezzo-soprano - Countess Hélène Bezukhov

Pamela Helen Stephen

mezzo-soprano - Sonya

Ekaterina Morozova

soprano - Countess Natalya Rostova

Justin Lavender

tenor - Count Pyotr Bezukhov

Neil Jenkins

tenor - Platon Karatayev

Oleg Balashov

tenor - Prince Anatol Kuragin

Russian State Symphonic Cappella


Teatro Nuovo, Spoleto, Italy


Ralph Couzens

Richard Hetherington



Ralph Couzens

Richard Smoker


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 234:54
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Opera - War and Peace

4 Compact Discs for the price of 3
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War and Peace, Op. 91

  Recorded live at the 1999 Spoleto Festival  
  Opera in thirteen acts  
  Libretto by the composer and Mira Mendelson after the novel by Leo Tolstoy  
1 Overture 4:42
  Scene 1  
2 'The radiance of the sky in spring . . .' 3:39
  Prince Andrey  
3 'I won't, I can't sleep' 4:58
4 'O God, my God! What a shame to sleep!' 2:57
5 Scene 2 2:37
6 'Chorus! Let the chorus begin!' 4:57
7 'Look, the colonel's dancing the mazurka' 2:39
  Peronskaya, Akhrosimova, Hélène, Anatoly, Count Rostov  
8 'Will no one choose me as a partner?' 2:48
9 'When I was at Otradnoye in May' 6:51
  Prince Andrey  
  Scene 3  
10 'The young Prince's fiancée' 5:19
  Old Footman  
11 'Ah, Madam, young lady . . .' 5:55
  Prince Nikolay Bolkonsky  
  Scene 4  
12 'The charming, delightful Natasha' 3:18
13 'She's wonderful and so beautiful' 7:12
  Scene 5  
14 'At ten o'clock in the evening, she'll be waiting' 4:09
15 'Balaga!' 6:15
  Scene 6  
16 'Oh, my dear Miss Natasha, all is lost, it seems' 3:38
17 'A fine young lady you are!' 6:34
18 'I've sough to avoid her' 11:07
  Scene 7  
19 'Picture the scene, Countess' 10:49
20 'The forces of two and ten European nations' 5:19
  Scene 8  
21 'Come on lads!' 'That's the way!' 8:27
  Volunteers, Tikhon  
22 'Denisov, her first fiancé' 3:27
  Prince Andrey  
23 'It's the master, look at him!' 6:06
24 'Hurrah! Hurrah!' 3:02
  Chorus of Soldiers  
25 'There is no people greater than ours' 10:34
  Scene 9  
26 'The wine is uncorked; we must drink it' 10:25
  Scene 10  
27 'And so, gentlemen, the question is . . .' 6:48
28 'The enemy bears down on us with fire and steel' 1:13
29 'When, oh when was this dreadful business decided?' 9:12
  Scene 11  
30 'Moscow's deserted!' 8:14
31 'I must do the deed, or die' 4:28
32 'Where di you get such a good going-over, lads?' 2:11
33 'Davout, the cruel Davout, the emperor Napoleon's hatchet man!' 5:16
34 'Nothing matters now, nothing' 6:41
35 'What a dreadful scene!' 4:13
  Scene 12  
36 'It's stretching higher and further' 8:20
  Prince Andrey  
37 'Has fate really brought us together so strangely today . . .' 7:22
  Prince Andrey  
  Scene 13  
38 'We've burnt our bridges . . .' 5:08
39 'Hey! Hey! Hey!' 7:27
  Voice off-stage  
40 'Dolokhov said that Hélène had passed away' 2:38
41 'The Commander-in-chief is coming!' 1:44
42 'The enemy has been put to rout' 6:15
 Ekaterina Morozova soprano - Countess Natalya Rostova
 Justin Lavender tenor - Count Pyotr Bezukhov
 Oleg Balashov tenor - Prince Anatol Kuragin
 Roderick Williams baritone - Prince Andrey Bolkonsky
 Pamela Helen Stephen mezzo-soprano - Sonya
 Igor Matioukhin baritone - Lieutenant Dolokhov
 Elena Ionova mezzo-soprano - Countess Hélène Bezukhov
 Alan Ewing bass - Prince Mikhail Kutuzov
 Stephen Dupont baritone - Count Ilya Rostov
 Thomas Guthrie baritone - Colonel Vasska Denisov
 Vladimir Ognev bass - Prince Nikolay Bolkonsky
 Victoria Livengood contralto - Mariya Akrosimova
 Neil Jenkins tenor - Platon Karatayev
 Alan Opie baritone - Napoleon Bonaparte
  Valeri Polyanksy chorus master  
 Richard Hickox
  4, 6, 8, 9 & 10 July 1999  
Richard Hickox conducts the Spoleto Festival forces in the first complete unabridged version of Prokofiev’s operatic masterpiece War and Piece.

Recently appointed artistic director of the Spoleto Festival , Richard Hickox conducted and recorded this work ‘live’ to great acclaim at the Festival in Italy in 1999.

Although there are three other versions of this work currently available, this recording, in Russian, is the only fully unabridged version. It is competitively priced at four discs for the price of three.

Hickox’s previous release from the Spoleto Festival of Menotti’s opera The Consul (CHAN 9706(2)) has been extremely well received.

In April 1941 Prokofiev had set down a plan to compose eleven scenes from ‘War and Peace’. With the outbreak of war and his evacuation to Nalchik in the Caucasus, the composer set aside the half-completed ballet ‘Cinderella’ and his other operatic projects to concentrate on Tolstoy’s great epic, which kept him preoccupied, in one way or another, for the next twelve years.

The very scale of Tolstoy’s vast epic would have daunted a lesser composer. Prokovfiev’s solution to the problem of scale was to be selective, and he was particularly concerned with its dramatic integrity. His recent experiences as a composer of film scores had shown him how to bring into focus specific moments in the action and throw them into vivid relief. In the same way the characters in ‘War and Peace’ appear before us in a succession of loosely connected episodes that emerge as if from a vast and brightly coloured canvas.

The libretto for this new opera was written by Prokofiev himself and Mira Mendelson, who later became his second wife. In the spring of 1942 Prokofiev sent the vocal score to the Artistic Committee, but the committee found fault with his treatment of historic scenes and demanded changes that would sharpen the musical portrayal of Kutuzov, the commander who saves Russia from invasion by Napoleon. Many subsequent changes took place in an attempt to get the complete opera performed. Prokofiev continued to revise the opera almost until his death, but never heard the opera performed in its entirety. In the Bolshoi Theatre in December 1959, all thirteen scenes of the opera were given together for the first time, and in November and December 1982, the opera was first heard in Russia in a definitive form without cuts.

"Recorded live at the 1999 Spoleto Festival in full and open Chandos sound, Richard Hickox’s formidable version of Prokofiev’s epic opera offers a strong, thrustful performance with a cast more consistent than those on rival sets... Other versions may have starrier individual contributions, but this one has no weak link, and the recording is not just full and brilliant but, beautifully balanced, captures the sweetness of the Spoleto strings very persuasively..."

The Penguin Guide - 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

‘Hickox clearly believes in this piece, and does his utmost to heighten the work’s… lyrical moments… there is a real theatrical buzz to the whole undertaking…’
BBC Music on CHAN 9706(2) (the Consul)

‘…Hickox conducts with conviction… A convincing performance of a compelling opera’.
Classic CD on CHAN 9706(2) (The Consul)

‘Its star is Richard Hickox, who conducts with unflagging energy and lyrical flow, guiding the soloists to pointed characterisation and building up the massed effects of the choral scenes.
Opera News, New York

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