Part of a series of live recordings unearthed after 40 years, this album presents one night of a three-night stand Quicksilver Messenger Service played as opening act for Jefferson Airplane at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco on February 4, 1967. The recordings are especially valuable since Quicksilver played for years, usually in and around San Francisco, before releasing its first album, Quicksilver Messenger Service, in May 1968. As this performance shows, the band was ready to record more than a year earlier.
Plácido Domingo as Vasco da Gama and Shirley Verrett as the African queen, whom he has enslaved, star in Giacomo Meyerbeer‘s spectacular grand opera L’Africaine, in a colourfully exotic production by Lotfi Mansouri, under the sensitive musical direction of Maurizio Arena. The visual splendour of Wolfram Skalicki’s designs matches the vocal distinction of the cast in this seldom performed masterpiece. Director Brian Large captured this magical performance from the San Francisco Opera House for video in 1988.
Maria Kochetkova is exceptional as Juliet, her movements always graceful, supple and beautiful. Her facial expressions early in the ballet radiate an ingratiating childlike innocence and joy, but in the darker and more tragic moments later on transform subtly to frustration, fear and sadness. She is a fine actress and a great dancer. Davit Karapetyan makes a splendid Romeo: his dance scenes with Juliet exude passion and deep love, and his sword fight with Tybalt divulges both exceptional athleticism and gracefulness. Luke Ingham in the role of Tybalt is also very convincing, both in his dancing and acting skills. (Robert Cummings, Classical Net)
I'm a big fan of Copland. His music can be dramatic, sad, joyful, and just plain fun. I also think his music is a good vehicle for personal expression of the performer/conductor. I don't think this is true for all composers–-I cringe at some interpretations of Bach–-but I usually enjoy it when a performance of Appalachian Spring or Bill the Kid contains some individual stamp that indicates the performer is really feeling and enjoying what they are doing. The combination of Copland's timeless compositions and subtle playing effects can be very sophisticated indeed.
This CD not only contains Fever Tree's 1968 self-titled debut long-player, but also an additional seven previously unreleased sides, including a live version of the group's sole charting effort (it reached number 94), "San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native)." The initial incarnation featured Rob Landes (keyboards/woodwind), Dennis Keller (vocals), John Tuttle (percussion), E.E. Wolfe (bass), and Michael Knust (guitar), as well as their patrons Scott Holtzman – who was one of Houston's top pop DJs – and his wife Vivian Holtzman…