CD nominated to International Classical Music Award (ICMA) 2019 in Opera category
Editor | Warner Classics
Catalogue No. | 0190295583439
Date | 2018
Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra | Anton Rubinstein MOSES – World Phonographic Premiere. Real Rare Book.
Premiere: August 31, 2018
Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894)
„Moses”. Sacred opera in eight pictures (1885-1891)
The album presents the full recording of the monumental opera „Moses” by A. Rubinstein. The Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra was directed by Michail Jurowski. Among the performers you can find the stars of the Polish and Worldwide vocalism.
Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894) was one of the most prominent figures of the Russian and international music scene in the 19th century. Born into an assimilated Jewish family, the pianist, conductor and teacher (among others, he was the founder of the Petersburg conservatory, where Pyotr Tchaikovsky was among his students) was also a prolific and very popular in his time composer, who shared his time between Russia and Western European countries. His piano concerts (especially Piano Concerto No. 4) and operas were highly valued. His opera The Demon (1871), based on a poem by M. Lermontov, gained lasting popularity, particularly in his native Russia. Rubinstein’s series of biblical operas, with themes from the Old and New Testament is interesting and original; the series includes Der Thurm zu Babel, Sulamith, Moses and Christus. The genesis of this interest is connected, on the one hand, with the fascination with the romantic oratorios of F. Mendelssohn (Paulus, Elias) and on the other hand, with the renaissance of similar works by G. F. Händel, also using Old Testament narratives. Moses was composed in 1884-1891, to the libretto by Salomon Hermann Mosenthal. The opera tells the story of the prophet in eight suggestive pictures using an enormous performing apparatus. Maintained in the expressive, Neo-Romantic style, Moses contains many magnificent arias, especially in the stunning group scenes illustrating the famous dramatis episodes described in the biblical Pentateuch.
Moses was never performed on the stage in its entirety. In 1894, there was a concert performance of Moses in Riga, later in several other centres (most likely, each time they were presentations of only fragments of the piece) and then it disappeared from the stages and the audiences’ consciousness for over a century. One of the reasons for this were the enormous costs of staging a work with such large cast, but also the fact that the fashion for “sacred operas” was already passing at the time. The death of the author shortly after composing the work also meant that he himself faded into oblivion quite quickly.
The prestigious concert under the auspices of the Polish Committee for UNESCO and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, which took place in the National Philharmonic Hall on 15 October 2017 (preceded by a recording of the work for this publication, with the same cast) was probably the first performance of the entire, integral opera, which had awaited its restitution for over a century! This was made possible thanks to the personal commitment of Michail Jurowski, who devoted many years to the preparation of the performance of this work and gained support for this project from the Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra.
Maestro Jurowski’s dream is for this extraordinary artistic undertaking to begin a wider renaissance of the interesting and beautiful, unjustly forgotten work of one of the most original characters of the musical scene of the 19th century.
Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra
Michaił Jurowski | conductor
Moses |: Stanisław Kuflyuk | baritone
Pharaoh, king of Egypt: Torsten Kerl | tenor
Asnath, his daughter: Evelina Dobračeva | soprano
Johebet, Moses’ mother: Małgorzata Walewska | mezzo-soprano
Miriam, her daughter: Chen Reiss | soprano
Job, an Israeli elder: Adam Zdunikowski | tenor
An overseer: Marek Kalbus | bass
The voice of God: Torsten Kerl | tenor
Jethro, a Midianite priest: Piotr Nowacki | bass
Zipporah, his daughter: Irina Papenbrock | alto
Aaron, Moses’ brother: Bastian Thomas Kohl | bass
Korah: Tomasz Kuk | tenor
Asnath’s slave: Monika Ledzion-Porczyńska | mezzo-soprano
Joshua: Adam Zdunikowski | tenor
Balak, king of Moab: Marek Kalbus | bass
Balaam, a prophet: Aleksander Rewiński | tenor
Warrior captain, A Messenger: Tomasz Warmijak | tenor
Chur: Leon Marut | alto
Four Levite priests: Daniel Woźniak | tenor I
Emil Zwoliński | tenor II
Krzysztof Chalimoniuk | baritone
Andrzej Kozłowski | bass
Warsaw Philharmonic Choir
Bartosz Michałowski | choirmaster
Artos Children’s Choir
Danuta Chmurska | choirmaster
Recorded at the Witold Lutosławski Concert Studio of the Polish Radio, Warsaw, 08-12.10.2017