In Spring 2014 Emanuelle Haïm conducted her orchestra Le Concert d'Astrée and a carefully-chosen cast in La finta giardiniera, staged by the French director David Lescot, in the cities of Lille and Dijon; the production was described by the French newspaper La Croix as “three hours of pure happiness”.
The major debut on Decca DVD of Danielle de Niese. Returning to the opera house where she sang her sensational Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare, Danielle performs the title role in Monteverdi's great opera of lust and power, in Robert Carsen's new, modern-dress staging. De Niese is perfectly cast as the beautiful and seductive Poppea who ruthlessly grabs power as Nero's lover but, in this production, is doomed from the moment of her coronation. De Niese's performance is vocally and dramatically powerful, perfectly complemented by Alice Coote as Nero. The two are supported by an outstanding cast, together with period-performance stars Emmanuelle Haïm conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Carsen creates an intelligent and visually-strong production, focusing on the personal side of the story. At times the action is violent and shocking, but this is juxtaposed with episodes of lightness and humour. Filmed in High Definition Widescreen
Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky continues to amaze with the facility of his technique in the most demanding coloratura repertoire, the intelligence and deep feeling of his musicianship, and, most especially, with the full, vibrant quality of his distinctive voice. It has lost none of its freshness since he burst onto the international scene in the last years of the 20th century, and has become a richer, stronger instrument without giving up any of its remarkable agility. A champion of neglected Baroque composers, he turns his attention to Antonio Caldara (ca. 1671-1736), a near-contemporary of Vivaldi's.
Following the trend of singers releasing recitals based on the repertoire of great performers of previous centuries – Cecilia Bartoli's tribute to Maria Malibran and Juan Diego Flórez's to Giovanni Battista Rubini, for instance – countertenor Philippe Jaroussky has devoted a CD to the repertoire of eighteenth century castrato Giovanni Carestini, who was a rival of Farinelli's. According to contemporary accounts, Farinelli was the more virtuosic of the two, with a hair-raisingly dazzling coloratura, and Carestini was noted for the beauty and purity of his tone, and his profound musical and dramatic characterizations. The demands of the arias collected here make it clear that Carestini must also have had a fully developed technique, because they require remarkable agility and an awe-inspiring range that essentially encompasses both soprano and contralto registers, as well as great interpretive sensitivity. Jaroussky's voice is not large, but he has plenty of power for even the most dramatically charged of these selections. It's notable for its absolutely accurate intonation, and its pure, creamy tone, with a gleam not often heard in countertenors. He also possesses a formidable technique and sings the most treacherous coloratura passages with effortless-sounding agility and freedom. He has a breathtaking pianissimo that can broaden from near inaudibility to full-throated warmth. Perhaps the most striking thing about his performances, though, is the depth of his musical characterizations, which comes from giving life to his characters' emotions through the deeply felt shaping of every phrase. There is not a moment of perfunctory Baroque note-spinning on the album – every run and ornament is packed with meaning and passion.
Before Depeche Mode inherited the techno-pop crown, Ultravox reigned over the electronic landscape. Pseudo Echo were one of Ultravox's most loyal fans, and their affection for the pioneering new romantics gushes from every synthethic groove on Love an Adventure. Thankfully, being a facsimile wasn't enough for Pseudo Echo. The cover of Lipps Inc.'s disco classic "Funkytown" was their only U.S. hit from Love an Adventure, and it was sadly misrepresentative of the album's stylish, hook-loaded dance rock. On "A Beat for You," driving hard rock riffs puncture Pierre Gigliotti and James Leigh's wall of synthesizers. Vocalist Brian Canham has a darkly erotic voice that only new wave groups seem to breed – imagine a cross between Jim Kerr of Simple Minds and Midge Ure of, no surprise, Ultravox. Pseudo Echo want people to move their feet, and this album is stocked with dancefloor scorchers such as "Living in a Dream", "Listening", and the funky "Try". "Funkytown" may have given Pseudo Echo a glimpse of commercial success, but the rest of Love an Adventure proved that they were capable of more.
As part of its acclaimed anthology series, SoulMusic Records is very proud to present “Deliver The Love – The Anthology,” – a sumptuous 2-CD homage to the late legendary vocalist, Phyllis Hyman who continues to enjoy a faithful and loyal following among discerning music lovers the world over.