Antonin Dvorák belongs to the peculiar fraternity of composers who aspired above all things to be great operatic composers, but whose legacies rest primarily on other accomplishments.
Unlike others in that group, like Franz Schubert for instance, Dvorák at least has one bona fide operatic hit: Rusalka, his sumptuous and touching fairy tale about a water nymph who becomes human for love. But that one work hardly does justice to his career-long obsession with dramatic music, which resulted in no fewer than 11 full-length operas, including The Jacobin, completed in 1888. If you're looking to go a level deeper into Dvorák's operatic music, The Jacobin is as good a place as any to start. It has everything that makes Rusalka great -- swelling orchestral climaxes, rich melodies, and naturalistic conversation stitched into coherent musical scenes -- as well as Bohemian musical elements that Rusalka does not have. The main difference is in the quality of the libretto, which like those of Dvorák's other obscure stage works (not coincidentally) doesn't match the inspiration and craftsmanship of his music. The Jacobin has a very simple central plot: a forsaken son returns home to win the love of his estranged father during the years of the French revolution. But that central idea is cluttered with so many side plots -- including the struggle between old-world feudal society and revolutionary ideals (as represented by the Jacobins eluded to in the title), and an operetta-worthy "please don't make me marry the bad man, Daddy, I love the young handsome one" side plot involving the daughter of the local music-master. However, that lack of dramatic coherence and thrust is no obstacle to enjoying The Jacobin for its purely musical virtues, especially when it is as well performed as it is here. Gerd Albrecht leads a very capable cast in a lively, well-characterized, and beautifully engineered recording. The Prague Chamber Choir shines in the work's many Bohemian choruses.
|Jakobin, opera, B. 159/B. 200 (Op. 84)|
|Act 1. Introdukce||Gerd Albrecht||1:05|
|Act 1. Scene 1. Své hlavy v prachu skláníme||Gerd Albrecht||8:50|
|Act 1. Scene 2. Jen postujme tu okamzení||Gerd Albrecht||3:51|
|Act 1. Scene 3. Ucený pane, dobrý den!||Gerd Albrecht||5:09|
|Act 1. Scene 4. Zle je, zle je, ha, ha, ha, ha!||Gerd Albrecht||2:27|
|Act 1. Scene 5. Já stastne se ho zbavila||Gerd Albrecht||4:59|
|Act 1. Scene 6. To mne se stát! Tak ctíte pána!||Gerd Albrecht||3:53|
|Act 1. Scene 7. Chci s tebou promluvit!||Gerd Albrecht||7:42|
|Act 1. Scene 8. Dovolte mi, pane...||Gerd Albrecht||5:00|
|Act 1. Scene 9. Slyste nás, kde jste, slyste nás!||Gerd Albrecht||1:15|
|Act 1. Scene 10. Sláva, sláva, sláva!||Gerd Albrecht||4:36|