Friday, March 11, 2011

Janacek - Osud (english) - Mackerras, Welsh National Opera

'Osud' was premiered after Janacek's breakthrough opera, 'Jenufa,' which tells you all you need to know about its music. This is prime Janacek. The first act opens with an outburst of joy unmatched, perhaps, in all opera, and one anticipates a neglected masterpiece. But sadly, the story is a catastrophe, it's semi-autobiographical plot line about a tormented composer being incomprehensible. Turning the original Czech into English proves neither Leoš Janáček hindrance nor help. The whole opera defies understanding, and I found it best to block out everything but the music.
If one does that, Osud becomes a ravishing experience. Janacek wrote some soaring choral parts in Act I, and the two main characters, the composer Zivny and the woman he wronged, Mila, each have long aria/monologues that are gripping and touching. As sung by the veteran English tenor Philip Langridge, here hitting his peak, Zivny holds the stage, and sopraono Helen Field is lyrical and moving in the thankless role of Mila. Charles Mackerras conducts with the usual commitment he brings to Janacek -- indeed, we're lucky to have such talent all around.
'Osud,' which means "destiny," deserved its fate, on both counts. It deserved to fail as an opera but to survive as glorious music. I waited a long time before chancing this work and am happy to report what a wonderful listen it turned out to be.
flac, scans


  1. any chance for part 3 of links?
    thank you very much.

  2. dear Otto
    What about for part 3 links


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