Premiered by the Opera De Paris in 1870, and inspired by the fantastical writings of E.T.A. Hoffmann, Coppélia tells the story of a young man who becomes besotted with an exquisite automaton and is finally brought to his senses by his fiancée. In their production from the magnificent Palais Garnier, choreographer Patrice Bart in his final production and designer Ezio Toffolutti explore the story's darker side while doing full justice to the exuberance and elegance of Delibes’ glorious score.
Renee Doria has a very unique voice and not a 'cookie cutter' the way a lot of sopranos nowadays sound–I can always tell it is her singing. I love her fast, fluttery vibrato and rich, warm, creamy, powerful middle voice. My only complaint is (as I've heard from some of the youtube posts) that sometimes she puts too much pressure on the notes above the staff and sounds like she is screaming them out. But here she sounds completely polished and nearly seamless from top to bottom.
The labels that are now gathered under the Universal Classics umbrella have a pretty impressive scorecard in the area of classical compilations. We've seen The Greatest Opera Show on Earth, The Yellow Guide: Classical Music, Best of the Millennium, and now there's The No. 1 Opera Album. But that's no surprise, since Universal has some of the finest interpreters in its catalogue to draw from. This two-CD set (at the price of one), for example, brings together the likes of Cecilia Bartoli, Renée Fleming, Luciano Pavarotti, Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Georg Solti, Herbert von Karajan, and many more. Yet the other key to a successful compilation is canny anthologizing, and here again, you have a nice selection to give you a smattering of opera's heavyweights from the Italian, German, and French repertory (there's even a step outside the standard framework with an aria from Dvorák's lovely Rusalka). Ranging from 1959 to 1997, the choices from back catalogue will doubtless be the entry ticket for many into this grandest of the arts.
David Zinman's performance of Coppelia is beautifully played and most naturally recorded. The warm acoustic of the Rotterdam concert hall certainly suites Delibes colourful scoring, and the gracefully delicate string-playing is nicely flattered. 'Les Sylphides' is a compilation of works by Frédéric Chopin. It was conceived as a ballet by Mikhail Fokin in 1909, and orchestrated by Roy Douglas in 1936. 3. Faust: Ballet Music by Charles Gounod.
The Show Must Go On offers a definitive collection of Sayer's 1970s bubbly dance-pop hits like "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing," "When I Need You," and "More Than I Can Say." A number of rare singles are also included, as is the unreleased cut "Tonight the Sky's About to Cry".
Those of us who bought this set were utterly charmed by Mesplé's intelligent, thoughtful, alternately vulnerable and independent Lakmé and Burles's sensitively shaded, quintessentially French-sounding Gerald. From the very first entry of Lakme in `Blanche Dourga, pale Siva', Mesple sends goose-bumps to listeners with her ethereal coloratura .