Nothern Nights. Songs to poems by Konstantin Balmont, Op. 14


  • Recorded: December 1975
  • Record Place: Czech Radio
  • First Release: 1975
  • (P) 1975 Český rozhlas
  • Genre: Opera


  • music by: Jaroslav Křička
  • original lyrics by: Konstantin Balmont
  • translation: Petr Křička
  • bass: Richard Novák
  • conductor: František Jílek
  • musical group: Brno Philharmonic Orchestra


Richard Novák


Catalogue Number: SU 4206-2
Published: 23rd September 2016
Genre: Opera
Format: 2 CD
Richard Novák - bass
Brno Janáček Opera Orchestra; Brno Janáček Opera Choir; Gerhard Zeller - piano
Brno Philharmonic, conductors František Jílek, Miroslav Hoňka, Jan Štych, Jaroslav Kyzlink
Prague Philharmonia, conductor Tomáš Hanus

CD 1 recorded at the Stadion Studio, Brno, 1978 (1, 2, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12), 1971 (9), 1977 (4), Czech Radio Brno 1983 (3), 1982 (6) and live at the Janáček Theatre, Brno, October 9, 2003 (8)
CD 2 recorded at the Domovina Studio, Prague, August, 1975 (1-11), December 1975 (12-15), and live in Rudolfinum, Prague, October 13, 2001 (16-25)

Backed up by the Czech Philharmonic, the 85-year-old Richard Novák sings the part of the Forester from the Cunning Little Vixen in a way that leaves you gaping in admiration. His performance is a witness not only to his singing skill, but also his life experience. The fact that he was lucky to find great music teachers has combined with persistence and hard work on his part. He was not afraid to interrupt his singing career at its apparent height when he felt his voice was losing inner support, and start anew. In 1961 he won second place in a singing competition in Toulouse (with José van Dame taking the first place) and became a laureate in the competition held in the Dutch city of Hertogenbosch in 1962. Dvořák, Verdi and Janáček represent the three supporting pillars of his repertoire and at the same time his three major musical loves.

Novák sang as a guest in Teatro Colón, at the Salzburg Festival under Claudio Abbado and also appeared on prestigious stages in Paris, Madrid and Venice. He has collaborated with many outstanding conductors, having sung oratorios under Ančerl and Neumann and recorded the Glagolitic Mass with both Mackerras and Chailly. One must not forget to mention his beloved song repertoire including works by Schubert, Schumann, Wolf, Křička, and, first and foremost, Dvořák's Biblical Songs. The double CD featuring a selection of Novák's recordings with Supraphon and the Czech Radio is meant as homage to the admirable singer and personality on the occasion of his life anniversary. In light of his excellent condition, however, it seems somewhat premature to congratulate him on his life-time achievement.

A Portrait of an Artist Who Found His Own Path


“Richard Novák fut „la basse tchèque“ pendant des décennies. La noblesse du phrasé, la chaleur du timbre font parfois songer à Hans Hotter. La longévité aussi: à soixante-douze ans, il chantait encore l’air de Fiesco de Simon Boccanegra et, deux ans plus tôt, des Chants bibliques de Dvořák pleins de ferveur crépusculaire. Il a la grandeur et la fragilité des monarques Boris ou Philippe II. Dans Wolf ou Schubert, il a peu à envier aux Allemands. Zeller au piano, Jílek, Kyzlink ou Hanus à la baguette: des accompagnateurs dignes de lui.”
Diapason, April 2017

CD 1

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Don Giovanni. Opera in 2 Acts, K. 527
1. Act 1 "Madamina, il catalogo e questo" 05:28
Antonín Dvořák
Rusalka. Opera in 3 Acts, Op. 114
2. Act 2 "Pitiful Rusalka pallid" 05:39
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Eugene Onegin. The Opera in 3 Acts, Op. 24
3. Act 3 "Ljubvi vse vozrasty pokorny" 05:39
Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka
Ruslan and Ludmila. Opera
4. Act 2 "Vremen' ot vechnoy temnoty" 05:38
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky
Boris Godunov. Opera in 4 Acts
5. Act 2 "Dostig ja vysshej vlasti" 05:49
Jacques Offenbach
Les contes d'Hoffmann. Opera in 4 Acts
6. Act 2 "Allez! Ah! C'est moi qu'on défie? ... Scintille, diamant" 04:22
Giuseppe Verdi
Don Carlos. Opera in 5 Acts
7. Act 3 "Ella giammai m' amo'" 08:26
Giuseppe Verdi
Simone Boccanegra. Opera
8. Proloque "A te l'estremo addio ... Il lacerato spirito" 05:06
Giuseppe Verdi
Macbeth. Opera
9. Act 2 "Studia il passo, o mio figlio" 04:32
Giuseppe Verdi
Luisa Miller. Opera
10. Act 1 "Ah, tutto m'arride ... Il mio sangue la vita darci" 04:45
Richard Wagner
Die Walküre. Opera in 3 Acts
11. Act 3 "Leb' wohl, du kühnes, herrliches Kind" 13:32
Leoš Janáček
The Cunning Little Vixen. Opera in 3 Acts
12. Act 3 "Is it a fairy-tale or is it all true?" 04:28

CD 2

Hugo Wolf
Mörike - Lieder. Songs to poems by Eduard Mőrike
1. Verborgenheit 03:00
2. Denk' es, o Seele! 03:24
3. Neue Liebe 03:21
4. Wo find' ich Trost 05:12
Franz Schubert
Schwanengesang, D. 957
5. Der Atlas 02:30
6. Ihr Bild 03:12
7. Das Fischermädchen 01:58
8. Die Stadt 03:11
9. Am Meer 04:30
10. Der Doppelgänger 04:36
11. Die Taubenpost 03:26
Jaroslav Křička
Nothern Nights. Songs to poems by Konstantin Balmont, Op. 14
12. Albatross 04:00
13. Swan 02:47
14. Lullaby 02:57
15. Scandinavian Rocks 02:48
Antonín Dvořák
Biblical Songs. On text of Bible of Kralice, Op. 99 (B185)
16. Darkness and thunderclouds are round about Him. Andantino 02:12
17. Lord my shield, my refuge and hope art Thou. Andante 02:03
18. Hear, oh hear my prayer, Lord my God. Andante 03:03
19. Oh, my shepherd is the Lord. Andante 03:05
20. Songs of gladness will I sing Thee. Risoluto maestoso 02:36
21. Hear, oh Lord, my bitter cry. Andante 02:57
22. By the shore of the river Babylon. Andante 03:09
23. Oh, Lord, have mercy and turn Thou Thy face to me. Andante 03:04
24. My eyes will I to the hills lift up. Andante con moto 02:10
25. Oh, sing unto the Lord a joyful song. Allegro moderato 02:06