Martinu: Juliette (3 Fragments) / Kozena, Davislim, Mackerras, Czech PO

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Live recording from the work’s world premieres on 11 and 12 December 2008.

This is not the first case of a premiere performance of a work by Bohuslav Martinu (1890-1959) decades after his death. On 11 December 2008 the sold-out Rudolfinum in Prague heard for the first time a work which ranks among Martinu’s most significant and which the composer himself highly esteemed. Martinu originally composed the opera Juliette in Czech. However, so as to ensure appropriate publicity for the work, he wanted – already armed with a French libretto – to place extracts from the most relevant scenes on French radio. Yet Three Fragments from the Opera Juliette (The Key to Dreams) was not broadcast on the radio and had to wait some 70 years for its first performance. This was entrusted to the safe hands of that most competent of conductors Sir Charles Mackerras, who has devoted a great part of his life to discovering Czech music and promoting it on world stages. Thanks to Martinu’s dreamily beautiful music and the remarkable engagement of all the interpreters, the conductor’s December leave-taking of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra was transformed into a joint triumph. After experiencing Magdalena Kožená in the role of Juliette, it is hard to imagine another star singer in her place. The Australian tenor Steve Davislim, who performed in the role of Michel, was a splendid partner to Magdalena Kožená in the lyrical and dramatic position. On this CD, Three Fragments is supplemented by the orchestral suite from the same opera, which sensitively treats the music of all three Acts and corresponds with the “dreamy logic” of the original.


"I don’t think I’ve ever heard a performance of any part of this score that captures its sheer beauty and fantasy so well." -- International Record Review, June 2009

"Mackerras directs a wonderful performance and while Kožená sings the title-role beautifully she is in excellent company. The Czech Philharmonic Orchestra play superbly throughout, not least in the sensible coupling of Zbyn?k Vost?ák’s expert arrangement of three of Julietta’s orchestral episodes. I cannot recommend this scintillating disc highly enough."-- Gramophone, June 2009

"Magdalena Kožená is magnificent as the volatile Julietta and is excellently matched by Steve Davislim’s Michel. Davislim is also terrific in the opera’s almost unbearably poignant finale. Along with three orchestral excerpts, including the opera’s prelude, these fragments provide a fitting tribute to Mackerras’s profound understanding of Martin?’s musical character." -- BBC Music Magazine, June 2009

"The sure hand of Charles Mackerras, a master of exceptionally high calling, succeeds in drawing out all the wealth of the score, letting the music shine with its most beautiful colors as he wields a world-class ensemble, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra. The bright, at times seemingly transparent mezzosoprano of Magdalena Kožená proves to be ideal for the role of Julietta, a girl losing her memory, a being from another world, sensuous and yet ungraspable. Davislim proves to be an ideal partner for her."-- Das Opernglas, June 2009

"Sir Charles Mackerras can scarcely be equalled for the way he lives this music, for the way it breathes and blooms under his direction. Thanks to the crystal-clear luminosity of the Czech Philharmonic’s finely detailed sound and the extraordinarily sensitive performances of world-class singers Magdalena Kožená and Steve Davislim, Mackerras has succeeded in fully revealing the suggestive quality of the music, carrying listeners away to a world of dreamlike surrealism. In the hands of Mackerras, a Martin? expert, the score becomes a magical tome." -- Fono Forum, July 2009

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: SU3994-2

  • UPC: 099925399429

  • Label: Supraphon

  • Composer: Bohuslav Martinů

  • Conductor: Sir Charles Mackerras

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Czech Philharmonic Orchestra

  • Performer: Daniela Demuthová, Frederic Goncalves, Karel Kosarek, Magdalena Kozená, Michele Lagrange, Milada Kosinova, Nicolas Testé, Stepánka Pychová, Steve Davislim, Veronika Mrackova-Fucikova