Nikola Subic Zriinjski

Album cover art for upc 761203533527
Label: CPO
Catalog: 555335-2


Nikola Šubic Zrinski ranks ahead of Jakov Gotovac’s Ero the Joker as the most prestigious and historically most important Croatian opera of all time. Its composer, Ivan Zajc, even gave his name to the Rijeka Opera. cpo is now presenting the first complete recording of this opera for distribution not only in Croatia but also beyond this country’s borders. Following the performance, on which our recording is based, the singers and the presentation as a whole received rave reviews from the press and the critical guild, with Robert Kolar reaping special praise as the best Zrinski ever! The fact that musicologists refer to the relevant phase in Croatian music history as “the Zajc period” reflects the central importance of Ivan Edler von Zajc in Zagreb’s music world and the significant role played by him in Croatian art music in general. The Croatian writer Hugo Badalic drew on Zriny, a tragedy by the German dramatist Theodor Körner, in his libretto for the opera Nikola Šubic Zrinski. The story behind it is based on the historic Battle of Szigeth of 1566. The composer conducted the premiere of this work regarded as the Croatian national opera at the Croatian National Theater in Zagreb on 4 November 1876. It consists of three acts, is subtitled “A Musical Tragedy,” and in its genre and form is a classical opera with musical numbers like those encountered in Gioacchino Rossini’s opere serie, which became established in Italy during the first half of the nineteenth century. Two factors have contributed to the reception of Nikola Šubic Zrinski as a historical, heroic, and national opera: the subject matter of the libretto and its rich supply of choral numbers – of its total of thirty-two numbers, a third are assigned to the chorus.

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