Tchaikovsky: Cherevichki (The Tsarina's Slippers) / Polianichko, Royal Opera House

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One of the most vibrant, colourful and eye-catching productions staged at London’s Royal Opera House who offered it as the 2009 Christmas presentation. Starting out life as Vakula the Smith, whatever its title, Tchaikovsky’s opera was based on Gogol’s story, Christmas Eve, its lighthearted fairytale aimed at creating an evening of delightful fantasy. The plot is complicated and requires a large cast, but taken down to its bare bones, it tells the story of Vakula, whose mother is courted by many men including the Devil, she too being something of a witch. He falls for the young village wench, Oxana, a rather highly-strung filly who says he will have to get the Empresses shoes before she will marry him. With the help of the Devil, who carries him on his back to St. Petersburg, he does successfully obtain a pair of the Empresses shoes. Victorious he returns only to find a contrite Oxana who has missed him greatly, and wants him as her husband with or without the Empresses shoes. Though it was heavily revised by Tchaikovsky to create Cherevichki (The Tsarina’s Slippers), he thought very highly of the finished product, but it has never found a place in the international opera repertoire. With a largely Russian cast, the Royal Opera House turned it into a visual spectacular, presenting one big scene after another, with big ballet scenes and a massive extravaganza at the Empresses palace. The cast is superb throughout, with Vsevolod Grivnov a heroic heldontenor as Vakula; Olga Guryakova a charming and typical Russian soprano as Oxana; Larissa Diadkova is a fulsome Solokha in voice and stature, but it is the big voice of Vladimir Matorin as Chub that almost steals the show. Maybe the chorus is just a little tentative at times, particularly at the return of Vakula, but with the range of magnificent costumes they still make a visual delight. A joint BBC/Royal Opera House product, the whole presentation is superb, the costume’s colours so thrillingly brought to your screen.

Solokha – Larissa Diadkova
The Devil – Maxim Mikhailov
Chub – Vladimir Matorin
Panas – John Upperton
Oxana – Olga Guryakova
Vakula – Vsevolod Grivnov
Pan Golova – Alexander Vassiliev
The Schoolmaster – Viacheslav Voynarovskiy
Odark – Olga Sabadoch
Wood Goblin – Changhan Lim
Echo – Andrew Macnair
His Highness – Sergey Leiferkus
Master of Ceremonies – Jeremy White

The Royal Ballet Royal Opera House Orchestra
Alexander Polianichko, conductor

Francesca Zambello, stage director
Alastair Marriott, choreography

Recorded live at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, November 2009.

Bonus: - Introducing Cherevichki by Francesca Zambello
- Cast and Characters
- Staging Gogol's world

Picture format: 1080i High Definition
Sound format: LPCM Stereo 2.0 / DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Region code: 0 (worldwide)
Menu language: English
Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish
Running time: 154 mins
No. of Discs: 1

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: OA BD7073D

  • UPC: 809478070733

  • Label: Opus Arte

  • Composer: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

  • Conductor: Alexander Polianichko

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra

  • Performer: Alexander Vassiliev, John Upperton, Larissa Diadkova, Maxim Mikhailov, Olga Guryakova, Viacheslav Voynarovskiy, Vladimir Matorin, Vsevolod Grivnov