As promised here several weeks ago on her birthday, “Trove Thursday” salutes the Czech soprano Gabriela Benacková with a rare broadcast of Robert Schumann’s only opera Genoveva, in which she sings the title role conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch and surrounded by an all-star Munich cast of the day: Marjana Lipovsek, Peter Schreier, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Wolfgang Brendel and Kurt Moll.
Benacková I was in college, reading raves about Benacková in Opera News and Opera convinced me I needed to hear her so I scanned my “pirate” catalogs and ordered a few tapes, including this Genoveva. Several CDs also became available, two ravishing aria recitals of Russian/Czech and Italian arias and her wonderful Rusalka.
Eventually I got to hear her in person—a thrilling Libuse with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall in 1986. Of course I returned for her OONY Rusalka (among the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard) and Jenufa—the legendary concert with Rysanek! 1991 brought us together again for her superb Met debut as Kát’a Kabanová. The last time I heard her live was 20 years ago next week: a heavenly “Song to the Moon” at James Levine’s 25th anniversary gala.
Munich Opera Festival
28 July 1982
Gabriela Benackova — Genoveva
Marjana Lipovsek — Margaretha
Peter Schreier — Golo
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau — Siegfried
Wolfgang Brendel — Hidulfus
Kurt Moll — Drago/Spirit
Karl Helm — Balthasar
Nikolaus Hillebrand — Caspar
Wolfgang Sawallisch — conductor
Included in the series of “pirate” postings last summer that gave birth to this weekly podcast was another favorite Benacková-Sawallisch performance which remains available for listening.
However, LaCieca has worked her magic and that 1977 performance of Dvorak’s The Spectre’s Bride with Peter Dvorsky can now also be downloaded, along with the two Verdi-Nicolai Falstaff operas and all previous “Trove Thursday” fare from iTunes or via any RSS reader.