HD-Vinyl 96/24 (EMI) Dmitri Shostakovich – Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk

Many thanks to Jean-Luc for this gem
Written between 1930 and 1932, The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk was one of the most brilliant achievements of Shostakovich’s long career. It was also the work that got him into trouble with Stalin. When the Soviet leader attended a performance in Moscow in 1936, almost two years after the opera’s acclaimed Leningrad premiere, he personally ordered the publication of a scathing article in Pravda (“Muddle Instead of Music”), unleashing a ruthless campaign to reduce the arts in Soviet Russia to a state of dogmatic subservience to the regime…..

Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Nicolai Gedda, Galina Vishnevskaya, Dimiter Petkov
Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Mstislav Rostropovich
Vinyl (1979)

Number of Discs: 3
Format: Flac
Label: EMI
DR-Analysis: DR 15
Size: 3.02GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

….Lady Macbeth would disappear from the repertory for 30 years, and Shostakovich, despite his great gifts for opera, would focus his attention on symphonic and chamber music instead. But what an opera this one was! Notwithstanding its title, it has nothing to do with Shakespeare’s Macbeth and quite a lot to do with Dostoevsky (even though it’s based on a story by another 19th-century writer, Nikolai Laskov). The plot has all the elements of a Russian epic–boredom, need, irresistible sexual longing, infidelity, murder, suicide–and the music is vintage Shostakovich, swinging between farce and tragedy with astonishing sureness, magnificently intense, deeply absorbing, yet approachable. The opera’s climactic scenes are driven by music of incredible power, and there are pages of haunting lyric beauty as well, such as Katarina’s aria in scene 3, or the extraordinary music that begins the love scene between Katarina and Sergey–mysterious, edgy, sensuous, and vast. It’s all brought home on this recording, a labor of love from two of the composer’s closest friends and greatest champions. Vishnevskaya, the great exponent of the role of Katarina, sings with untrammeled splendor, while Rostropovich, the supreme interpreter of the music of Shostakovich in our time, conducts a characterful, white-hot performance by the London Philharmonic. –Ted Libbey
Out of all the operas written in 20th century, “Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk” certainly stands out as being the richest in melodies and bravest in expression. It is truly the work of Genius. Shostakovich put all the power of his glorious talent for musical character sketching behind this work. In 1934 Dmitri Dmitrievich was reaching his prime, he was idealistic, and not yet taken through the years of communist punishment. In her autobiography “Galina”, the singer explains that at the time the composer was also madly in love with his first wife. As a result, Katerina has some of the most beautiful music he had ever written. The men in the opera, by contrast, have the most brutal, alarming, and dark music. All the music carries shades of folksongs, but it’s generous, expansive, and flowing for Katerina, and often syncopated, broken, harsh for the men. You can’t help liking “Lady Macbeth” and feeling sorry for her. The opera is recorded with the great cast, but the two shining stars here are the incredible husband and wife team of Galina Vishnevskaya and Mstislav Rostropovich. Both great admirers, friends, and, in a way, pupils of the composer, exiles at the time of this recording, they put a personal touch to this opera, unmatched on record. The legendary prima donna of Bolshoi, Galina Vishnevskaya is her best here. Her immense voice adapts easily to extraordinary high demands of the role, from tender heartwarming pianissimos to powerful but always clear fff. When it comes to subtleties and vivid characterization, she has no equal. Plus, Katerina is one of her favorite roles, she has starred in the movie “Katerina Ismailova”, and no matter how many recordings and productions of this opera you might see, you won’t find anything to remotely resemble her performance. The greatest cellist of our time Mstislav Rostropovich proves once again that remarkable instrumentalists can make extraordinary conductors. He revels in passion, beauty, and intricacy of the score, always maintaining cohesiveness in the orchestra and warmth and fullness of sound. The interlude following the death of Boris serves as a great example when rather than the finality if death the listener feels the terror of things to come. In Nicolai Gedda’s experienced hands, Sergei comes through just as the composer wanted us to see him – a shallow, weak, cowardly and indulgent man, not worthy of Katerina’s love. When in scene five he says, “I wanted to declare you my wife before God” we know: he is lying! Under his reassuring that he is a man of culture and understands what love is, there is only a villager who happened to be at the right place at the right time to offer Katerina a mere substitute for what she wanted a great love to be, only to abandon her when he has nothing more to gain. Bulgarian bass Dimiter Petkov offers a very vivid portrayal of lusty old (but still strong) man. His Mephistophelean laugh and later – his ghostly appearance sang on very low echoing notes make him the ultimate bad guy. Loved the policemen! What a fantastic picture of “law-and-order” in Russia, still true these days. EMI offers very clear and well-balanced sound (which was, probably, extremely difficult to accomplish), a nice booklet graced by a picture of beautiful Galina Vishnevskaya, and good liner notes. I would love to have Cyrillic texts, but the phonetic spelling is done correctly. An absolutely fantastic set, the best tribute to Shostakovich!
Analyzed folder: /96k Shostakovich – Lady MacBeth Of Mtsensk
DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
DR15        -0.87 dB     -21.80 dB     sideA.aif
DR15        -0.88 dB     -21.26 dB     sideB.aif
DR14        -0.49 dB     -21.55 dB     sideC.aif
DR15        -0.83 dB     -21.20 dB     sideD.aif
DR14        -0.57 dB     -20.82 dB     sideE.aif
DR15        -0.31 dB     -21.62 dB     sideF.aif
Number of files:    6
Official DR value:    DR15

  • Chorus – Ambrosian Opera Chorus*
  • Chorus Master – John McCarthy
  • Composed By, Libretto By – Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Conductor – Mstislav Rostropovich
  • Engineer [Balance] – Michael Sheady, Stuart Eltham
  • Libretto By – Alexander Preis
  • Libretto By [After] – Nikolai Leskov
  • Libretto By [Transliteration And Translation] – Joan Pemberton Smith
  • Orchestra – London Philharmonic Orchestra*
  • Photography By – Clive Barda, Fayer Wien*, Jan Zegalski, Patrick May, Reg Wilson
  • Producer [Recording] – Suvi Raj Grubb
  • Sleeve Notes – Solomon Volkov
  • Sleeve Notes [Translated By] – Valeria Vlazinskaya*
  • Vocals [1st Foreman / Coachman] – Colin Appleton
  • Vocals [2nd Foreman] – Alan Byers
  • Vocals [3rd Foreman] – James Lewington
  • Vocals [A Priest] – Leonard Mróz
  • Vocals [A Sergeant] – Aage Haugland
  • Vocals [A Shabby Peasant] – Robert Tear
  • Vocals [A Teacher] – Martyn Hill
  • Vocals [Aksinya] – Taru Valjakka
  • Vocals [An Old Convict] – Alexander Malta
  • Vocals [Boris Timofeyevich Ismailov] – Dimiter Petkov
  • Vocals [Drunken Guest] – Edgar Fleet
  • Vocals [Ekaterina Lvovna Ismailova] – Galina Vishnevskaya
  • Vocals [Millhand / Officer] – Leslie Fyson
  • Vocals [Policeman] – Oliver Broome
  • Vocals [Porter] – Steven Emmerson
  • Vocals [Sentry] – David Beavan
  • Vocals [Sergey] – Nicolai Gedda
  • Vocals [Sonyetka] – Birgit Finnilä
  • Vocals [Steward] – John Noble
  • Vocals [Woman Convict] – Lynda Richardson
  • Vocals [Zinovy Borisovich Ismailov] – Werner Krenn
world première recording
Recorded: IV.1978, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London
sung in Russian
includes 44-page booklet containing notes and complete libretto in Russian, English translation and English transliteration


Ripping Info


If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music.
Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.
My rips are almost rough rips.

  • Software: iZotope RX 4 Advanced, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Super light de-clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no de-noising
  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5

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