Shostakovich’s 'Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk'

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Saturday, April 18, 2015

Eva-Maria Westbroek (center) as Katerina in Shostakovich's 'Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.' Eva-Maria Westbroek (center) as Katerina in Shostakovich's 'Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk.' (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

Join us Saturday at 1 pm for a rare revival of Shostakovich's searing drama "Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk," heard in an archived Met Opera performance from November.

Shostakovich’s towering tragedy of adultery and murder stars the commanding dramatic soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek as the heroine who suffers the vagaries of her treachery. Brandon Jovanovich is her co-conspirator and lover, Sergei, and Anatoli Kotscherga is her brutal father-in-law, Boris. James Conlon conducts.

Cast:

Eva-Maria Westbroek: Katerina Ismailova
Brandon Jovanovich: Sergei
Anatoli Kotscherga: Boris
James Conlon
: conductor

Comments [7]

Les from Miami, Florida

What a performance this was! Eva-Maria Westbroek, Brandon Jovanovich and Anatoli Kotscherga were in great voice, as were the others completing the cast. The orchestra and chorus were just magnificent, the biting satire and ferocity were all there, all impulsed by the knowing and feeling baton of James Conlon. This has to be one of the lasting and most significant achievements in Peter Gelb's tenure. Whether the staging and props were a bit surreal as described by Mary Jo Heath and Ira Siff and over-the-top in this stark reality Shostakovich has written about I'll leave entirely to those who attended to decide. As Halina Rodzinski writes in "Our Two Lives", Toscanini came backstage and repeated over and over to her husband Artur, "Bravo, bravo, magnifico lavoro". I can do no better than echo Maestro's words after what I just heard.

Apr. 18 2015 04:37 PM
CastaDiva from New York, NY

If ever the title of prima donna assoluta were to be bestowed on a soprano, it surely has to be on E M Westbroeck. She has a voice of great beauty and sings with apparent ease various opera genres. I have heard her as Sieglinde, as Francesca, and in this as Katerina Ismailova. She was marvelous in everything, a truly protean voice. And she has also sung elsewhere roles such as Anna Nicole Smith and as Santuzza in Cav, too, which she has now sung at the Met. She is a good actress, too, as her portrayal of the role of Katerina ----bored housewife, seductive lover, determined murderess, fearful criminal, and, finally her touching scenes when she realizes she is losing her lover to another woman and her heartrending aria of abandonment will attest. But of course, she does not have the looks that would merit the above accolade, since this is reserved these days only for a soprano who meets a certain aesthetic standard so as to look good in the HD movies and in the publicity photos.

I'm enjoying this broadcast very much. Janovich is so good as the hapless lover, and all those Russian and former SSR bassos are splendid. And S's gorgeous score for this tragi-comedy is brilliant.

Apr. 18 2015 02:53 PM
David S

Amazing production. Bravo ! Just wait Gelb will get rid of it. Why radio ? It's meaningless. Must see at the met or don't bother. Great "nose" too. Saw both of these operas at Mariinsky and hated them. Importance of smart artistic productions are textbook obvious here.

Apr. 18 2015 02:36 PM

Thanks Les from Florida for your interesting info! Enjoying this Opera a lot!

Apr. 18 2015 02:28 PM
CastaDiva from New York, NY

This is one of the best things the Met has done in a long time, for sheer all over perfection: a superb cast, every single one of them; truly inspired sets---how often can one say this about Met productions in recent years?---and wonderful playing and singing by the Met orchestra and chorus, that brought out the dramatic intensity of Shostakovitch's marvelous score. It was so very good, I went twice, and congratulated the Met on this very successful production, a treat for anyone who enjoys S's music, as I do.

Apr. 18 2015 01:23 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

The Soviet Union under Stalin, who at his best was only a brutal ruler with no real education who considered most of his contemporary composers as lacking in producing melodic music. He prevented the scheduled premiere of
Prokofieff's THE GAMBLER. I got to do the title role in the American premiere in the English adaptation by Irving and Georgette Palmer., which translation e was provided in librettos when the Bolshoi Opera presented its version at the MET OPERA. Prokofieff to offset the stupidity of Stalin's remarks composed the Classical Symphony one of the most melodic masterpieces of Russian symphonic music. It is a most admirable decision by the MET to present operas such as this Shostakovich masterpiece instead of merely repeatedly reprising the pot boilers. I am in favor of REAL voices, not highly amplified and cosmetised timbres, singing musicals without amplification. ." I knew personally Wieland, Wolfgang and Ftiedelinde Wagner, the grandchildren of the composer and Cosima Liszt Wagner. Friedelinde attended one of my performances in the revival of Most Happy Fella at the New York City Center, the old home of the NYCO. In the "old days" operatic voices were doing the operettas of Victor Herbert, Rudolf Friml, Cole Porter, Franz Lehar, Jerome Kern and Gershwin. Anything that promotes comprehension of and familiarity with the masterpieces of art , music, literature and architecture serves the better good for all. My own experience as a 10 year old with hearing Wagner's Gotterdammerung on New York's radio station WNYC gave birth to my career as an opera composer and Wagnerian heldentenor. For those interested in hearing a real, echt, Wagnerian heldentenor voice my next concert reprising my 4 three hour long main hall, Isaac Stern Auditorium, Carnegie Hall solo concerts in which i sang nearly 100 selections will be at the New Life Expo at New York's Pennsylvania Hotel at 8 PM at either the Madison or Penntop venue on the eighteenth floor on Sat. May 30th. The concert will consist of 13 selections in 8 languages: German, Italian, French, Norwegian Swedish, Spanish, Latin and English. The composers represented will be Wagner, Verdi, Beethoven, Handel, Grieg, Sibelius, Jacopo Peri, Cilea, Halevy, Gastaldon and Alvarez. My singing may be downloaded, free, at Recorded Selections at my website www.WagnerOpera.com. I am an opera composer ["Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"], who in these days of turmoil believes Shakespeare's thoughts might render some message of value to those who feel victimized. My operas will be obtainable on my web site in 2 years.I am also the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute in Boonton, NJ where there is training for actors for all the roles of the Shakespeare's plays and for big-voiced singers coaching for all the Wagner opera roles

Apr. 18 2015 08:43 AM
Les from Miami, Florida

Here's another opportunity to hear what conductor James Conlon called the greatest 20th Century Russian opera. The intermission feature will include an interview with him, but he wrote an essay in 10 December 1994 "Opera News" called "The Whole Truth" that taught me more about the opera than any other source and I'd urge all those interested to read it. Nothing reveals how much interest the American premieres in Severance Hall, Cleveland and at the Old Met (rented out) than the guest list of legends in their own right who attended. Artur Rodzinski conducted. Halina Rodzinski, (Mrs. Artur Rodzinski), in "Our Two Lives", wrote that George Gershwin attended in Cleveland, along with Claire Dux, Mr. and Mrs. John Alden Carpenter, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, Grace Moore and others. At the Met: George Gershwin (again), Arturo Toscanini, Mr. and Mrs. Leopold Stokowski, Serge Koussevitzky, Bruno Walter, Walter Damrosch, Fritz Reiner, Otto Klemperer, Artur Bodansky, Alexander Smallens, Nicolai Sokoloff, Albert Spalding, Artur Schnabel, Lawrence Tibbett, Mischa Elman; and the list of social elite goes on and on. Shostakovich liked Rodzinski's conducting that he heard at a music festival; and Artur Rubinstein was influential with the beaurocrats who allowed the American premieres, thanks to the high esteem in which they held his artistry, witness his recent concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg (Leningrad at the time).

Apr. 18 2015 06:54 AM

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