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.
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
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.
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
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".