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<<  -- 3 --  Roderic Dunnett    BEAUTIFUL VISION

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An additional Smetana duet, that of Lukás and Tomes from the sprightly comic opera The Kiss (Hubicka) is less of a vehicle for Blachut, yet under Chalabala's direction certainly catches the spirit of this delightful opera, which rivals The Bartered Bride for its sheer entertainment value. Yet Lukás's tenor solo 'Já nest'astník' (I'm unhappy!') is unexpectedly heroic, and as powerful as Rusalka in its way; and the love duet with Vendulka (the utterly charming, Ludmila Cervinková, who matches Blachut in her beautiful restraint, with the inspired Zdenek Chalabala conducting), sheer delight.

And it's Rusalka that wins the final accolade : here, we hear initially the material from Dvorák's 'Hymn to the Moon', but prefacing instead the Prince's gorgeous Act I aria 'Vidino divná'; ('Beautiful vision'). And that's exactly what it proves in this sensitive tenor's hands. Everything Blachut touches has delicacy, a transparent openness, and warmth. Jaroslav Krombholc, who conducts the Dalibor excerpts, also directs this melting performance.

Beno Blachut was born in l9l3 and died in l985. Supraphon have illustrated the sleevenotes with impressive character photos throughout, making it an archive, and remastered the material admirably : the result is a fitting tribute to one of the most poignantly beautiful singers of the late 20th century, and a figure of the absolute front rank.

Copyright © 3 March 2001 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

 

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