EINOJUHANI RAUTAVAARA (b.1928): Aleksis Kivi.
Catalogue Number: 05M069
Reference: ODV 4009
Description: A CD version of this opera appeared on Ondine in our January 2003 catalogue. (01E065). This is a brand-new production from a stage performance. The title character in this 1996 opera is the founding-father of Finnish-language literature who died insane at the age of 38 in 1872. Rautavaara, as usual, provided his own libretto which assures the closest possible relationship between words and music and much of the text is taken from poetry by Kivi (as well as works by his bitter rival August Ahlqvist who is also a character but whose vicious negativism is symbolized by the fact that his part is spoken word only). The struggle for acceptance by a starving artist is almost a stock topos in art yet Kivi's life reads like an over-the-top libretto in actual truth. There is no chorus and the orchestra used is small (with the addition of a synthesizer in the third act when Kivi crumbles into alcohol-soaked madness) but the lovely melodies embedded in tougher music continually draw the listener along in this compelling tragedy. Jorma Hynninen (baritone), Janne Reinikainen (speaker), Riikka Rantanen (mezzo), Finnish National Opera Orchestra; Mikko Franck. 16:9 widescreen. NTSC Region 0. Dolby Digital 5.1 or PCM Stereo. 90 minutes (opera), 23 minutes ("The Making of Aleksis Kivi").