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<<  -- 2 --  Roderic Dunnett    DEFINITELY AMONG THE GREATS

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But Podvalová's Sárka is a celebrated interpretation. Here as elsewhere the remastering shows off other leading performers to advantage too : in an extract from Dvorák's Rusalka (possibly the best item on the disc), alongside the superb Czech character tenor Beno Blachut (see my Music & Vision review of 3 March 2000) as the Prince (with Podvalová as the Princess, from Act 2) [listen -- track 6, 0:00-0:55]; in Dalibor, both Blachut and the bass Václav Bednár (here, pleasantly unvibratoed); and in Sárka, the admirable, again relatively vibrato-free, tenor Lubomír Havlák as Ctirad : their final ardour is less fiery than Eva Depoltová and Vilém Pribyl on Jan Stych's complete Brno recording, but the build-up by each is superb : indeed here Podvalová's peculiar vocal texture adds a nervous frisson to Sárka's shy uncertainty that could not be more appropriate. The unexpected unwinding, over her anticipatory aria, of the fatal love theme, is an extraordinary dramatic touch by Fibich.

A mixed disc, then, but Podvalová's is definitely a voice to set among the greats, as Talich spotted all those years ago. It would be good to hear the two of them together, as the Supraphon archive continues to yield up good things. In the meantime this is, surprisingly, the only Podvalová disc in the lists, and both Krombholc and Chalabala -- great names in their own right -- do her proud.

Copyright © 24 March 2001 Roderic Dunnett, Coventry, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - SUPRAPHON SU 3504-2 611

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