Bull-dozing Rimsky-Korsakov

Dmitri Kitaenko conducts the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra with enthusiasm, but Rimsky-Korsakov's opera needs a lighter touch

Composer: Rimsky-Korsakov
Repertoire: Le Coq d’Or Soloists
Artists: Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitri Kitaenko
Rating:  3/5
Genre: Orchestral
Label: MEL CD 10 01389

Rimsky-Korsakov’s final opera, Le Coq d’Or (1909), tells the story of a blustery Tsar who is given a golden cockerel able to warn him of military danger. When he refuses to pay the agreed fee, the cockerel kills him. It’s an odd, allegorical piece about territorial folly, but one which boasts some of the composer’s most seductive, faux-oriental music. Kitaenko conducts with an obvious relish for all the glittering gorgeousness and pomp, but the recording is let down by an unsubtle bulldozer performance from Evgeny Nesterenko as the Tsar, and the distant miking of the coloratura love-interest Queen Shemakha.