Dvorak: Kate And The Devil (chalabala)

Album cover art for upc 099925394325
Label: SUPRAPHON
Catalog: SU3943
Format: CD

The success of the symphonic poems Water Sprite, Midday Witch, Golden Spinning-wheel and Pigeon, drawing on themes from folk ballads, encouraged Dvorák to seek inspiration for another opera in Czech popular fairy-tales. After historic themes and comical plots (Dimitri, The Jacobin, The Stubborn Lovers, etc.) the libretto deals with a Chod fairy-tale with all its salient features: the muddleheaded devil, the saucy Kate, who even gives Lucifer himself a piece of her mind, the shrewd shepherd Jirka, as well as justice that in the end is accorded to ordinary people – precisely thanks to the shepherd’s adroitness and the gruesome authority of Hell. Following its successful premiere (1899), the opera’s warm folksy tone contributed to its rapid domestication not only at the National Theatre. The opera as conducted by Zdenek Chalabala and performed by excellent soloists, the orchestra and chorus of the first Czech opera stage in 1955 is now being released on a CD by Supraphon for the first time.

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