MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

and more.. and still writing ...


Search MusicWeb Here


Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer

International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


Support us financially by purchasing this from

Mieczysław WAJNBERG [WEINBERG] (1919-1996)
The Passenger, Op. 97 (1967-1968), opera in 2 acts with an epilogue – sung in Russian
Nadezhda Babintseva – Liese
Vladimir Cheberyak – Walter
Natalia Karlova – Marta
Dmitri Starodubov – Tadeusz
Olga Tenyakova – Katya
Irina Kulikovskaya – Vlasta
Tatiana Nikandorova – Hannah
Aleksandra Kulikova – Bronka
Natalia Mokeeva – Ivette
Chorus and Orchestra of the Ekaterinburg State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre
Oliver von Dohnányi
rec. 2016, Ekaterinburg State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre, Russia
DUX 8387 DVD [160:34]

If the name Mieczysław Wajnberg sounds familiar but doesn’t look as you expected, it is due to the various ways in which his name can be represented: it is most commonly spelt Weinberg, but there is also a variant that begins with a V – three names one composer. Like a lot of people, I got to know this work through the ArtHaus Musik release (109080) which I borrowed from a friend. I was very impressed with that production and the way that it portrayed, what is in effect, a harrowing story. It tells of a former Auschwitz guard, Liese, who is on board a ship with her husband Walter, a German diplomat, heading for Brazil, when she sees a woman who she thinks is Mata, an inmate of the death camp who she had long thought to be dead. Racked with guilt caused by her reminiscences of the camp, she tells Walter what she did during the war, he fears a diplomatic scandal, so they ask a ship’s steward to enquire into the woman’s background, and when he comes back and tells her she is English she thinks her troubles are over.

There are some good scenes here, such as when Liese tells Walter of her role in the camp, this is well acted, especially by Vladimir Cheberyak who uses his voice to portray the full gambit of human emotions, from happiness to fear and horror to relief, in one short scene he gives it his all. However, it is in the scenes set in Auschwitz that this production is the winner, it portrays the dark reality of life in the camp with greater starkness than the ArtHaus production.

Act II opens back in Auschwitz, with the camp commandant’s family around a Christmas tree and a grotesque waltz playing in the background, which would not be out of place in one of Shostakovich’s Jazz Suites; the two composers were good friends and are believed to have shared some ideas between themselves, and there certainly seems to be some cross fertilisation, especially in Act II. When the action shifts back to the ship the steward comes to tell Liese and Walter that he has more information about the mysterious woman, and that whilst she is a British citizen, she is Polish by birth and it is at this point that they enter the ballroom and whilst they are dancing, the waltz tune from the camp is requested by the woman and more memories come flooding back for Liese – including the death of Tadeusz, who had been the fiancé of Marta before the war, and who as a violinist had performed the waltz for the commandant. Finally, the mysterious woman is revealed as Marta, and she sits close to Liese and sings of the past and of those who perished.

I enjoyed this production; whilst the singing may not be as polished as the ArtHaus, there is, I think, a greater sense of the occasion and of ensemble here, I particularly liked the singing of the two main characters, and that of Olga Tenyakova as Katya, who when asked to sing to the prisoners an old heartfelt song of Russia, does just that. The rest of the soloists and chorus sing very well and portray a greater sense of emotion that in the ArtHaus, even if a little rough around the edges. The set might not be as grand as in David Pountney’s production, but as already mentioned, the Auschwitz scenes were staged better, with the set ideal for the smaller theatre. The recorded sound is very good, something that brings out the fine orchestral playing. There are, unlike the ArtHaus, no extra features, whilst the booklet offers a short introduction to the opera, a note about the production and a synopsis in Polish, English and Russian. This is not the opera to watch when you are feeling a little bit down, but it is a production that gives you hope.

Stuart Sillitoe


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I

June 2022

Beethoven Sonatas 29, 32

Orchestral Works

String Quartets Vol 1