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.
What do the spirited and robust scores of Italian opera and the infinite joys of the country’s food have in common? Chef Rick Stein heads to Italy to find out. In this colourful special, top chef Rick Stein takes a lighthearted look at the role that food played in the creation of Italian opera and shows how music and food are intrinsically linked in Italy. He draws parallels between cooking and composing, noting how both involve the skilful combination of ingredients and how they share the common purpose of bringing pleasure to many and lifting the human spirit. Rick also explains why he thinks the music of three great Italian composers – Verdi, Puccini and Rossini – is connected to the food of the regions where they lived and worked. All were passionate about the delights of the dining table. Puccini loved the simple dishes from his native Tuscany, Verdi had his own farm, and many extravagant dishes are named after notorious gourmand Rossini.
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.
The Best of Nat King Cole is part of EMI-Capitol Special Markets' Ten Best Series, where they selected ten hits from a popular artist on their roster. For the budget-minded, it's a nice collection of Nat King Cole's best-known hits, like "Unforgettable," "Ramblin' Rose," "Mona Lisa," "Walkin' My Baby Back Home" and "(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons." It certainly won't please either jazz purists or Cole collectors, but the budget-conscious looking for an affordable (albeit skimpy) sampler of well-known Cole should turn here.