- Audio CD (August 2, 2011)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Import
- Label: Eloquence Australia
- ASIN: B0058U7ZUA
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,777 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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Art of Oda Slobodskaya
Audio CD | Import
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Born in 1888, the Russian soprano Oda Slobodskaya won a scholarship for secondary education but, having completed her schooling, to her displeasure, found herself working with her parents in a second hand clothes shop. Despite having no formal musical training, she travelled, at the age of eighteen, from her hometown of Vilno (then part of the Russian Empire) some 300 miles to St. Petersburg, to audition. She was successful. During the Russian revolution she was ordered to join other singers on obligatory tours to factories and farms to entertain the workers. At the invitation of Diaghilev she starred in the premiere of Stravinsky's opera Mavra. The impresario Rabinoff organized for her to tour America as star soloist with the Ukranian Chorus and while there she made a successful solo debut at Carnegie Hall in New York. But, as a displaced Russian living abroad when appreciation of the Russian repertoire was minimal, Slobodskaya had difficulty finding a good manager. It was at this point that her career took a most unexpected turn. She was persuaded that as a stop-gap measure to earn some much-needed cash she might utilise her talents in the Variety Theatre rather than the opera house, and so under the assumed name of Odali Careno she made her variety debut in Baltimore in 1928. Dressed in a stunning eau-de-nile gown, she was a sensation, singing a mixture of familiar opera arias, ballads and popular songs. Slobodskaya's recordings are few and far between. A handful of Medtner songs with the composer at the piano were recorded in 19? for HMV. In 1938 she recorded eight sides of Russian songs for a limited edition set of four 78s issued by the Rimington van Wyck record shop in Leicester Square. Slobodskaya had been heard on the radio by Mr. Frederick T. Smith, owner of RvW, and he was so overwhelmed by her voice that he paid for the records to be recorded by Decca. They were issued in May 1942 in a limited edition of 2000 in an attractive brown and gold album. Decca recorded her again in 1945 and 1946, and then in 1961. The recordings are of cult status, much sought after by collectors of great vocal treasures, and this is their first issue on Decca CD. Andrew Dalton has compiled the collection and provided the liner notes, and the booklet is illustrated with all the album jackets as well as illustrations from program booklets, making this a real collector's item!
Top customer reviews
Slobodskaya did not make any opera recordings in her prime. Her voice was probably smaller than that of her compatriot Nina Koshetz Prima Voce: Nina Koshetz The Nina Koshetz Edition: Recordings 1916-1941, but Slobodskaya was a chamber artist par excellence and more disciplined singer than Koshetz or another Russian-borne soprano, Kyra Vayne Lebendige Vergangenheit - Kyra Vayne. Russian art songs seldom get such a stylish and sensible performance, with fine legato, lovely timbre, accents in the right place, without screaming or squealing. On CD 1 (songs by Taneyev, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Grechaninov, Tcherepnin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Ñui and Balakirev, recorded 1938 in London) the voice is at its best.
The pianist Ivor Newton is a sympathetic partner. In Tatiana's aria (CD 2, track 1 - rec. 1945) Slobodskaya is accompanied London Symphonic Orchestra conducted by a Russian - born conductor Anatole (`Anatoliy Ivanovich') Fistoulari.
As far as I know, there exist some other Slobodskaya's recordings including her performances of Medtner's songs, but I could not locate them on amazon.com.
Recommended - for those who love Russian art songs and look for their best performances.
No praise is too high for these wonderful discs, so, hurry and buy!
See and hear more of Oda Slobodskaya on CharlotteinWeimar's YouTube Channel