The incomparable Siberian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky — best known internationally for his Verdi roles — makes a powerful return to operatic masterpieces of his homeland. Leading this gripping album of Russian arias and scenes is Hvorostovsky’s frequent collaborator, Constantine Orbelian.

We are treated to the vibrant opening scene from Prokofiev’s War and Peace, as well as popular arias from Tchaikovsky’s Mazeppa, Iolanta and Queen of Spades. We also get a seldom-heard rarity: virtually the entire final dramatic scene from Anton Rubinstein’s The Demon.

Featured in the album’s first and last selections is the new soprano sensation Asmik Grigorian, with whom Dmitri has shared the operatic stage in these roles in recent seasons. Further collaborators include other well-known Russian artists who appear here more briefly, as well as the vaunted State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia and the Helikon Opera Chorus.