One of the most important events in classical music this autumn will be the release of a recording of Bohuslav Martinů’s pastoral opera What Men Live By, wonderfully performed by Jiří Bělohlávek with the Czech Philharmonic and a whole host of important soloists. The world premiere recording will be released by Supraphon both on CD and in digital formats on 19th October 2018.
Bohuslav Martinů based the libretto for his pastoral opera on an English translation of Leo Tolstoy’s story Where Love Is, There God Is Also (1885). Instead of the original title referring to the Gregorian hymn Ubi caritas, Martinů chose the more universal title of a different Tolstoy story, What Men Live By. The opera was first heard in 1954 at the summer music course in Interlochen (Michigan). In 1955 the BBC considered producing the opera for television, but the idea did not come to fruition. This autumn at the Golden Prague International Television Festival, audiences finally got to see the premiere of a television version directed by Jiří Nekvasil.
Jiří Bělohlávek’s recording with the Czech Philharmonic is the first professional recording of this moving one-act opera by Bohuslav Martinů, and it may help the work regain the notice of opera companies. What Men Live By will be released together with Martinů’s Symphony No. 1, recorded in January 2016.
- Record label: Supraphon
- Release date: 19 October 2018
- Format: CD & digital audio – mp3, flac