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.
“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
Although tenor saxophonist Dexter Gordon seemed to have been largely forgotten in the U.S. during his long residence in Europe, he was playing in prime form during the period and made occasional trips back to America. On this CD reissue, Gordon teams up with pianist Wynton Kelly (one of his last recordings), bassist Sam Jones and drummer Roy Brooks for an obscure original ("Evergreenish"), "The Jumpin' Blues," the veteran ballad "For Sentimental Reasons" and three songs that were long a part of Gordon's repertoire: "Star Eyes," "Rhythm-A-Ning" and "If You Could See Me Now." Dexter Gordon is in fine form on the excellent straightahead bop set.