Dvorák: The Jacobin.
An Opera in three Acts, BBC Symphony Orchestra., BBC Singers, Trinty Boys Choir and Old Palace Chamber Choir……
Soloists: Svatopl Sem – Bohus; Dana Burseova – Julie; Jozef Benci – Filip; Jaroslav Brzina – Brenda; Lucie Fiser Silkenova -Terinka; Ales Voaracek – Jiri; Jiri Hajek – Adolf; Jan Martinink – Count Vilem
Conducted: Jiri Belohlavek
When one reaches my age it’s rare to make a great discovery…something entirely new and entirely unexpected.
Last night I heard the Dvorák’s Jacobin for the first time. I cannot understand how I’ve lived so long without coming across the masterpiece. I don’t use this word lightly.
I’ve always loved Dvorak…the Mass in D, the Requiem, The songs, Rusalka, Symphony No.9 – From the New World. I might go on…but my passion for opera has never really taken me further. I probably wouldn’t have gone to Rusalka had it not been for the fact that it was in my ENO season ticket in the 1980s and I already knew the fabulous aria the fairy Rusalka sings. Maybe I was too young and too vain for any impression to be made on me. Well, I won’t spoil my discoery my throwing over it the spoils from the deep grave on my ignorance
Last night’s performance was recorded live for Radio 3. You must quite simply drop everything and listen to it.From the first to last this work has no longueur. The music is ravishing. At times it is spine tingling. There are moments of such sweetness that tears will come…the duet in Act II and the Lullaby in Act III. The reconciliation of father and son in Act III and the finale in Act1.
I could waste your time with flurries of superlatives interlaced with blizzards of adjectives. I won’t because this music will speak for itself. It simply must be heard and enjoyed. The performances are delightful and some of the singing so choked with beauty that emotions run close to tears. The baritones have some fabulous stuff to sing. The orchestration devised by Dvorak is beautifully ralised by the BBC Symphony orchestra. There is humour with the deeply touching intimacy a gentle humour that comes from understanding and yet loving humanity with all its foibles. I’ll never forget the country chorus counting their beats as they practice the song they will sing to the Count…it really catches the essence of life in a small remote town…a world we’ve lost.
Below are some links to YouTube…but honestly they will not touch watch the BBC managed last night for this series on Radio 3.