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DEFINITELY AMONG THE GREATS

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'... Podvalová's Sárka is a celebrated interpretation.'

A Marie Podvalová operatic recital -
with RODERIC DUNNETT

 

Supraphon has done an amazing job remastering these performances, for Podvalová's career reached its peak just as Germany began dismembering Czechoslovakia. She was born in l909, and spotted in the late l930s by Talich when he was director of the National Theatre. Three of the major roles she sings here were soprano parts she had earned a name for before full scale hostilities began : Milada in Dalibor, Fibich's Sárka; (under Chalabala, in l938, who also conducts this postwar recording); and the supreme rôle in Czech national opera, Smetana's Libuse, which she sang at the age of just 28.

Marie Podvalová Operatic Recital (c) 2000 Supraphon a.s.

Just one blast of Podvalová's Milada [listen -- track 1, 1:56-2:52] (in Act 2 of Dalibor) establishes that we are in the presence of a major performer. Rather more muted in sound (in this Czech Radio recording) is her singing of the famous prophecy scene from Libuse. Elsewhere -- in Sárka, for instance -- Podvalová displays the fairly fast vibrato characteristic of many Czech singers; with her Libuse it is less evident. Klíma's pace is quite agitato, less statuesque than some, which assists the narrative thrust though not the word painting. An ugly engineered fade near the end doesn't help, and on the whole I found this doctored Libuse -- so magnificent in the hands of Gabriela Benacková (SU 1276-2) and Eva Urbanová (SU 3200-2 or 0200-2) -- a disappointment.

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Copyright © 24 March 2001 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - SUPRAPHON SU 3504-2 611

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