The Royal Opera is a company based in central London, resident at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Along with the English National Opera, it is one of the two principal opera companies in London. Founded in 1946 as the Covent Garden Opera Company, it was known by that title until 1968. It brought a long annual season and consistent management to a house that had previously hosted short seasons under a series of impresarios. Since its inception, it has shared the Royal Opera House with the dance company now known as The Royal Ballet.
Just a generation ago, posterity hadn't quite made up its mind about Franco Corelli. Corelli was an operatic oddity, a self-trained singer with movie star looks who largely learned his craft from listening to old records of his predecessors. Corelli made up for what he may have lacked in conventionally trained, "beautiful" tone with an approach that emphasized power and electric energy over all, and gradually rose through the ranks of tenors to become a major star of Italian opera. This EMI collection, The Very Best of Franco Corelli, concentrates its focus on recordings Corelli made in the 1960s during the height of his popularity. As these selections are "bleeding chunks" drawn from recordings of complete operas such as Pagliacci, Rigoletto, Tosca, and others, this is kind of an odd sampling of Corelli.
Songwriter and pianist Anne Clark has been a cult figure since the early '80s and has amassed a rather sizable catalog despite her small but rabid following. She writes nearly-Gothic love songs full of obsession and pathos, and pretty orchestral settings with clever instrumental figures and stinging piano runs and minor-key epiphanies. She's a consummate artist, playing to her strengths while trying to subtly, but surely, extend her reach, and always following her own muse, even when it takes her into dissonant territory. Most of her albums are out of print even on CD, and sell for collector's prices when they can be found. This is too bad, because Clark has assembled a solid, if quirky, and passionately honest body of work. This best-of issued by Beehive is truly that. It features 24 tracks and clocks in at over 75 minutes. Many of these are Clark's most lovely songs, such as "The Sitting Room," "All Night Party" (with Vini Reilly of Durutti Column), the "12" remix" of "Our Darkness," and "The Last Emotion," as well as instrumental themes such as "Swimming" and "An Ordinary Life".
Olivia Ong is a Singaporean singer who found success in Japan with English-language renditions of bossa nova classics.