Keeping with the Czech theme of my recent posts, here is a rare set of excerpts from Smetana’s own favorites of his operas, Libuše. Of course, I was interested in this set because of the sides led by Otakar Jeremiáš, but I was happy to make the acquaintance of Rudolf Vašata (1911-82), who conducts with great affection here. SopranoLudmila Červinková brings a very appealing style to the title role. I knew her work primarily from a recording made by Supraphon in the early 1950s of Dvořák’s Rusalka, thankfully available on a Cd reissue now. Libuše, along with Ma Vlast, represents the fullest expression of Smetana’s musical depiction of the history and pride of the Czech nation and people. Listeners familiar with Ma Vlast will recognize some shared musical material in the finale to the opera as well.
Thanks to Tobias, who sent me the “raw” transfers of these sides. Unfortunately the final record (the second half of the final scene) is from a damaged copy, which was repaired to playable state, but still has a prominent click, which I minimized as much as possible, but is still audible.
Bedřich Smetana: Libuše: excerpts
No. 1: Prelude
No. 2: Bohové večni (Libuše)
No. 3: Vy kmeti, leši! (Libuše)
No. 5: Když v blahé touze lásky (Krasava)
No. 7: Již plane slunce (Přemysl)
No. 8: O, vy lípy (Přemysl)
No. 11: Act 3: Introduction
No. 12: Bud’ vítána (Choral scene)
No. 13: Hoj, tvrdý Vyšehrad (Libuše/Přemysl)
No. 14: Libuše’s Prophecy: Bohové mocní (ensemble)
Marie Podvalová, soprano (Libuše)
Ludmila Červinková, soprano (Krasava)
Stanislav Muž, baritone (Přemysl)
in No. 14 also: Jarmila Malá, Marta Krašova, Josef Vojta, Josef Celerin, Josef Krikava and Jaroslav Veverka)
Rudolf Vašata (Nos. 1, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12)
Otakar Jeremiáš (Nos. 2, 14)
Karel Nedbal (No. 3)
Orchestra and Chorus of the National Theater, Prague
There are various catalog numbers for these records. Please refer to the included jpeg files for more complete listings. Ultraphon originally issued these sides, but these transfers are taken from later Supraphon pressings. I don’t know the recording dates (yet), but I would guess early 1940’s.
Ultraphon G 22869 (matr. 045018/9)
G 14342 (matr. 044474)
G 14962 (matr. 045195)
G 12985 (matr. 043909/10)
G 14343 (matr. 044405)
G 14964 (matr. 045022)
G 14112 (matr. 044145)
G 14112 (matr. 044125)
G 14345/6 (matr. 044470/73)
Note: The piano/vocal score, in pdf format, may be downloaded here.