This is a worthy reading of one of Massenet's best scores, thoughtfully conducted by Kent Nagano. Anne Sofie von Otter combines intelligence and a beautiful voice with passion and conviction in the complicated character of Charlotte. Tenor Jerry Hadley is occasionally afflicted by a musical-theater tendency to croon but expresses most of the torments of the title role, while Dawn Upshaw makes a better-rounded character of Sophie than the average soubrette.
Special Feature / Bonus Track: 2 bonus tracks. After years of staying free of comparisons with Charlie Parker, Sonny Stitt steps confidently into a set of compositions by the late, great one – sounding really wonderful in his own interpretations of these classics! The album's got the same simple and focused still as Stitt's best work on Roost – and although the compositions are all by Bird, the overall sound is still very much Sonny's own – especially given the wonderful sense of space and timing brought to some of the performances! The group's an unusual one, especially for Stitt – and features John Lewis on piano, Jim Hall on guitar, Richard Davis on bass, and Connie Kay on drums – all offering a slightly more modern take on Bird than might be expected – especially through the angular lines on Hall's guitar.