Ruslán i Lyudmíla features “before-the-fall” Valery Gergiev leading Kirov/Mariinsky forces in a 1996 Amsterdam broadcast with Marina Shaguch and Mikhail Kit as the title pair, plus we have a rare Martti Talvela Ivan Susanin.

When the New Opera of Moscow brought Glinka’s Ruslán in concert to Avery Fisher Hall in May 1994, of course I went. Though it was just an adequate rendition, I was eager to hear this seminal Russian work again, preferably in a staged production. Just four years later I had that opportunity when the Kirov Opera visited the Met.

Gergiev again conducted a cast that included several of today’s crew except my title pair was Olga Trifonova and Evgeny Nikitin, with Larissa Diadkova in the trouser role of Ratmir, plus Kit (who would later sing the Walküre Wotan with the Met) taking on Svetozar instead of Ruslán.

A week before I attended the Met Ruslán, there was a gala Kirov concert during which I heard Anna Netrebko for the first time—performing Lyudmila’s aria. Also included that evening was the marvelous Tchaikovsky Iolanta love duet featuring Shaguch paired with Yuri Marusin; he was just okay but she sang wonderfully. I wish that I’d had the chances to hear her more often including her sole Met appearance as Tatyana during the first run of the Robert Carsen Eugene Onegin production. One can hear her Letter Scene from that performance here.

Farlaf for both Amsterdam and the Met, Gennady Bezzubenkov, is featured in an earlier Trove Thursday posting of Glinka’s “other” opera, A Life for the Tsar aka Ivan Susanin during Soviet times.

Over the years, Trove Thursday has posted a number of memorable Opera Orchestra of New York performances and here’s another: Life for the Tsar, its only Glinka venture, with the great Talvela (whose two monumental Mussorgsky portrayals I saw at the Met) in an iconic Russian role he rarely performed.

Glinka: Ruslán i Lyudmíla

Lyudmila: Marina Shaguch
Glorisava: Valentina Tsidipova
Ratmir: Zlata Bulyheva
Naina: Yevgenia Tselovanik
Ruslán: Mikhail Kit
Svetozar: Sergeij Aleksashkin
Farlaf: Gennady Bezzubenkov
Finn: Konstantin Plushnikov
Bajan: Yuri Marusin

Chorus and Orchestra of the Kirov Opera
Conductor: Valery Gergiev

VARA concerts, Amsterdam
21 September 1996

Glinka: Zhizn za tsarya

Antonida: Irina Markova
Vanya: Ortrun Wenkel
Ivan: Martti Talvela
Sobinin: Chris Merritt
Sigismund: Kevin Maynor
Bote: Dennis Peterson

Conductor: Eve Queler
Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall

14 October 1984
In-house recording

Both Glinka operas can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 files will appear in your download directory.

In addition, nearly 600 other podcast tracks are always available from Apple Podcasts for free, or via any RSS reader. The archive which lists all Trove Thursday offerings in alphabetical order by composer  has recently been updated.