Shostakovich, Katerina Izmailova, Galina Vishnevskaya, directed by Mikhail Shapiro (1966, DVD released on January 9, 2007)
The composer oversaw staged performances of Katerina Izmailova in Moscow and other theaters. He most admired the one used as the soundtrack for this film, given by the Shevchenko Opera in Kiev, with Konstantin Simeonov conducting. A related performance (the Shevchenko Opera but with different singers) has been available, if not widely known, in the United States: it is one of the recordings that I had collected over the years, as I mentioned in another recent post. Mikhail Shapiro used actors to lip-sync the sung dialogue, in only one case having the singer act the part she sang -- the remarkable singer and actress Galina Vishnevskaya (wife of cellist Mstislav Rostropovich) in the title role. Much of Katerina's sung lines, which often read like internal dialogue in the opera, are treated as voice-overs, an effective adaptation. The film, even in this imperfect, somewhat rough print, has beautiful moments, although it is dated. The split-screen effects can be hokey, but just as often they skillfully advance the narrative, as when the drunkard runs along a street toward the police precinct in the upper part of the screen, while we see the wedding party of Katerina and Sergey emerging from the church in the lower part.
Shostakovich, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, directed by Petr Weigl (1992)
Decca 074 3137