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Vakula the Smith

Contributors have enquired as to the availability of the original Vakula the Smith (rather than the revision as Cherevicki) on cd. The BBC production already referred to is available to purchase from a 1st class small British source – Oriel Music Trust, 79 Ffordd Glyder, Port Dinorwic, Gwynedd LL56 4QX, Wales, UK email: 

I’ve purchased many items from Oriel and they are presented to a very high standard and all profits go to the charity – Musicians Benevolent Fund. There are many treasures in the Oriel catalogue. Highly recommended.

Joseph Brand
17/09/2012 16:26

Further to my previous message regarding this subject I’ve now purchased and listened to this recording and thoroughly recommend it to all Tchaikovsky completists and enthusiasts. Firstly it is a superb quality recording very nicely presented in a proper jewel case. Secondly it is the only recording that exists of Vakula the Smith. Thirdly the orchestral playing, conducting and singing is of the highest quality – Vakula and Oxana are taken by American singers – David Bender and Susan Roberts both very good though Roberts’ voice might be an acquired taste; she makes a very shrewish Oxana but can certainly sing all the notes. The rest of the cast are splendid British performers. Edward Downes the conductor is an acknowledged authority on Russian music. The performance is in Russian with a charming English narration by the well-known English actress Patricia Routledge. The narration tracks are banded so can be easily omitted if required. There is no libretto so the narration is very useful. As another recording is very unlikely this has to be the one you must have.

A detailed description of the differences between Vakula and Cherevicki appears in in volume 1 chapter 10 of David Brown’s superb study of Tchaikovsky (ISBN 0-575-05426-3). Brown’s comments on Tchaikovsky’s music can be contentious but his scholarship cannot be faulted.

Joseph Brand
15/10/2012 20:54

I'd like to thank Mr Joseph Brand very much for his great news about Tchaikovsky's opera "Vakula the Smith" being sold by the Oriel Music trust.

In the mean time, I've also purchased these CD's.

It is indeed a high-quality recording of a fascinating opera, which is also very worth to being listened to in its original version.

As is the case with "Romeo and Juliet" or Tchaikovsky's "Second Symphony", the first version of "Vakula the Smith" regorges with some very good sequences, so that it is really worth to listen both to it as to the later version, "Cherevichky".

Guido Muehlemann
25/11/2012 20:34

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