GMN's latest welcome addition to its Family of Artists debuts on the GMN's opera channel this week: Dmitri Hvorostovsky, baritone supreme is the debutant and there's the small matter of a World Première recordings to consider.
Hvorostovsky is one of the day's truly great singers. A seductive Don Giovanni, a brooding Eugene Onegin, a noble Don Carlos, a committed recitalist, wherever and whatever he sings, he tends to cause a stir, almost as much for his matinee idol demeanor and looks as for his penetrating interpretations of opera and song. The Siberian is well known for raising the temperature of his audiences in hot-blooded roles, but Hvorostovsky's commitment to the serious art of communicating Russian experience in the twentith century through song is less well documented.
Together with his accompanist Mikhail Arkadiev, Hvorostovsky has been introducing the planet to Georgi Sviridov's wonderful vocal art for almost a decade, beginning with the massive, poignant song cycle, 'Russia Cast Adrift' through to the dark, sonorous, impressive beauties of 'Petersburg - a vocal poem'. The distillation of their live performances of 'Petersburg' was captured by GMN last year and is the first of our World Premiere recordings from Hvorostovsky and Arkadiev.
Listen to Sviridov's cycle Petersburg.
Sviridov received virtually every major honor open to a composer under the old Soviet system, but is barely known in the western world. Few recordings of his music managed to penetrate the Iron Curtain and fewer concert programs east of Moscow have included any of his works.
Whilst contemporaries such as Ustvolskaya and Rodion Shchedrin – conifined to the shadows as the western world idolized Shostakovich - have made inroads into our consciousness, Sviridov has only lately come blinking into the spotlight. And who better to introduce one of Russia’s great song composer than the premiere interpreter of Russian song.
The cycle, which occupied the composer on and off for some 20 years was completed especially for Hvorostovsky and Arkadiev, dedicated to them and first performed by the pair in 1995 at a concert celebrating Sviridov's 80th birthday.
Photo credit: Sergei Bermeniev