Jun 14, 2021Liked by Opera Daily

Beautiful choices - thank you

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Jun 20, 2021Liked by Heather Johnson, Opera Daily

Once again I have learned how procrastination can be the road to hell that's "paved with good intentions". Had I taken the time to listen last Sunday when Heather Johnson's post hit my inbox, I could have enjoyed the extraordinarily beautiful voice of Slovakian soprano Gabriela Beňačková all week long, instead of in a last-minute, post-Jubilee Day scramble. Even so, I'm happy to have had a new musical frontier to explore - the composers, operas, stories and artists found in the Slavic tradition.

I suspect I would be hard pressed to find anyone better than Gabriela Beňačková to perform those two arias by her Czech kinsmen: “Jenůfa's Prayer” from "Jenůfa" by Leoš Janáček and "Měsíčku a nebi hlubokém" (“Song to the Moon”) from "Rusalka" by Antonín Dvořák. Even without understanding the language, her calm, emotion-laden, lyrical soprano moved me deeply.   

So, too, did the filmed version I watched of  "Jenůfa" with English subtitles (JENUFA Leoš Janáček: - Její Pastorkyňa - YouTube). Janáček drew his inspiration from his unique cultural traditions, even though he shared the same musical language as French, Italian, and German opera composers. This opera sounded different, more dialectical, more modern. I hope this isn't sacrilegious, but at times "Jenůfa" reminded me of  American musical theater, perhaps because it was reportedly "among the first operas written in prose", and was "known for its unsentimental realism". (Jenůfa - Wikipedia).

Leoš Janáček  (Leoš Janáček - Wikipedia) and Gabriela Beňačková (Gabriela Beňačková - Wikipedia) have been a real gift to my eyes and ears. Thanks to “L’altra notte infondo al mare” from "Mefistofele" by Arrigo Boito, and “Jewel Song” from "Faust" by Charles Gounod, I'm signed up for life in theGabriela Beňačková fan club 🤩. (Move over, Leyla Gencer and Edita Gruberova!😍)

Saved for future reading and listening:

Antonín Dvořák ("Rusalka") 

Arrigo Boito ("Mefistofele") 

Charles Gounod ("Faust") 

 So much opera, so little time! Thank you, Heather!

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