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.
This is the masterwork, Gluck's last important opera, which convinced the teenage medical student Berlioz, when he first heard it in 1821, that he had to be a composer. He worshipped Gluck and took his side in the phoney "Gluck vs.Piccini War". He set himself the task of sitting in the Conservatoire library to copy out the entire score in order to absorb its lessons. Its directness and drama influenced his artistic style his whole life through, as evinced by key points in "Les Troyens".
This collection contains all Debussy’s works for orchestra as well as many orchestral arrangements of his piano music. Together these display a rich panorama of Debussian sound and a remarkable insight into the composer.
The Marriage of Figaro, as this elegant 1994 production brilliantly reminds us, was a French bedroom comedy before it became a Mozart opera. It is a classic of French literature, and it is still enjoyable as a spoken play after more than two centuries of existence. Its literary quality gives this production a special flavor. The music–some of Mozart's finest–is beautifully presented by a carefully chosen international cast (including Giovanni Furlanetto, Elzbieta Szymtka, Janice Watson, and Ludovic Tezier), but what sets this production apart is its theatrical flavor, cultivated by a director who is an expert on classic French theater. The standards of spoken theater are upheld in timing, body language, the inflection of punch lines. These qualities are more important here than in most operas; style is both crucial and elusive. Fortunately, the Opera de Lyon, one of most imaginative companies in Europe, shows an impressive sense of style. (Joe McLellan)
“Yvonne Kenny was already experienced in the role of Aspasia when this production was filmed in 1986, and here she is musically agile and dramatically compelling. Rockwell Blake is vocally muscular as Mitridate… The American soprano Ashley Putnam was simply an inspired choice for the… trouser-role of Sifare, and the rest of the cast is good. The direction is fluid…” BBC Music Magazine
Frank Dunlop's witty, unvarnished view of Donizetti's country comedy, updated to the 1930s, is delightful to see, wondrous to hear. Gheorghiu and Alagna make an ideal partnership as capricious girl and shy bumpkin. They both act and sing their roles to near perfection in a staging that exposes the heart and heartlessness as much as the fun of this work.
As a dominant force for more than four decades, YES has sold more than 33 million albums worldwide. Their symphonic use of sound and innovative musical style has made each of the group s players virtuosos in their own right. The Grammy Award winners, one of the most influential and ground-breaking progressive rock n roll bands in history, follow up their new studio album Fly From Here with a brand new live album.
It’s now been over forty years since the release of the first two Roxy Music albums. Unlike almost all other art-rock records, these two would still be perceived as startlingly unique even if released today. The combination of singer/songwriter Bryan Ferry and non-musician extraordinaire Eno’s otherworldly contributions created a sound like no other. Persona-wise, the 6’2″ Ferry projected a so-cool image as a retro-ized strangeoid with a smashingly singular vocal delivery including quivering, foppy elements mixed with a rich baritone.