Behind the near-mythical figure of the emancipated woman, the dazzling spectacle of the group tableau and vibrant seduction of the Spain of dreams, all its authenticity and brilliance have been restored to the world's most performed opera in the opera house where it was first performed in 1875. A veritable back to the origins for the masterpiece by Georges Bizet, who died at the age of thirty six, only a few weeks after finishing his controversial work, the tremendous success of which he was ever to know. By presenting it here in a brand-new version with instruments of the period, in an endeavour to rekindle the original musical and theatrical flame, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and Adrian Noble have reconstructed the unusual movement of the chorus and difficult dialogue between characters as a human, carnal tragedy.
This CD reissue dates from Thad Jones' single year of leadership of the Count Basie Orchestra before his health began to fail. Caterina Valente (best known as a pop singer) has a warm voice and sounds comfortable singing in a jazz-influenced middle-of-the-road style. There is little improvisation on the date and Thad Jones' arrangements leave surprisingly little space for solos; his only appearance on cornet is on "Solitude."
Although highly esteemed by Classical and Romantic composers such as Beethoven and Brahms (the latter's summing-up: "what we musicians recognize as the height of dramatic music"), Cherubini's setting of Euripides, first heard in 1797 in French, all but vanished over the course of the 19th century. Today it would be as obscure as the Baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier's operatic treatment of the same material were it not for the title role's emergence in the 1950s as one of Maria Callas's signature roles… By Todd Kay
Two queens on one island. A recipe for disaster. Especially as both have a legitimate claim to the other’s throne. They are, after all, related… So the power politics are the name of the game. And, for reasons of state, one of the heads that wears a crown has to roll…