Thursday, 16 July 2009

Dvořàk before Rusalka - The King and the Charcoal Burner

"Dating from the early part of Antonin Dvořák’s career, The King and the Charcoal Burner (Král a uhlíř) was composed in 1871, the time when he was also establishing his reputation with his first symphonic works....

"A summary of the plot is useful to point out the situations which would inspire Dvořák’s musical imagination. In the first act, the scenes lend themselves to a series of numbers: a chorus of huntsmen, a duet between the lovers Liduška and Jenik, a chorus of coal burners, and other pieces. The end of the act also involves popular-sounding music that evokes the peasants’ merrymaking, and the religious idiom of the “Angelus” prayer at the end of the scene. In this act the music is as important as the libretto in setting up the dramatic situation."

".... As strong a work as Rusalka is, The King and the Charcoal Burner offers insights into its composers other efforts in opera. "

Dalibor Jenis sings the King. For him alone the new CD should be worth listening to. Recently, he sang Renato in the Royal Opera House Un ballo in maschera. From many accounts he "made" the production. He's charismatic, a very bright man who loves his work. He'll go far. See in this interview with him why his Renato was so good. Look at the pic – he's a hunk !

Read the full review by James L Zychowicz of The King and the Charcoal Burner here

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