Valery Gergiev's recordings of Russian opera have long been regarded as definitive and since they have begun being issued on DVD, the stunning choreography and stage direction of these lavish productions has truly come to the fore. The latest release is Tchaikovsky's underrated 'Mazeppa', a brilliant opera in every sense of the world and consequentially, another hugely entertaining three hour visual and audio feast.
As has become the norm in these Gergiev operas, the cast could arguably be described as dreamlike. Nikolai Putlin is a sturdy and confident Mazeppa, he sings with unalloyed fervour and tremendous vocal vigour, very much a star interpretation of the role on all counts. The same goes for Sergei Aleksashkin who provides a stunning interpretation of Kochubey whilst the beautiful Larissa Diadkova is tailor made for Lyubov. Gergiev conducts with his usual phenomenal energy and work rate and the chorus is also on top form.
'Mazeppa' is blessed with a number of dramatic moments especially the stunning 'Battle of Poltava' which has Gergiev in his element. The beautiful costumes are a joy to observe and the lavish stage production is truly a visual feast. The DTS sound is also pretty stunning in its opera house reproduction that adds to the sense of theatre. Those opera buffs who have already invested heavily in the previous works by Gergiev will definitely want this excellent 'Mazeppa' in their collection.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech