Die Zauberflote, Mozart's last opera, performed on this disc by the Metropolitan Opera under the direction of James Levine.
The cast features such stars as Kathleen Battle (Pamina), Fancisco Araiza (Tamino), Manfred Hemm (Papageno), Kurt Moll (Sarasto), and Luciana Serra as the Queen of the Night. Brian Large, who has vast experience with opera, directs this major work. By R. Nicholson
If eclectic is your bag, then Heartbeat might be your thing. Like Hector Zazou, Ryuichi Sakamoto employs a realm of many styles on this upbeat collection. Songs performed in Japanese, Russian, French, and English (by friends Youssou N'Dour, David Sylvian, and Deee-Lite's DJ Towa Towa and Super DJ Dmitri) top an already brimming album that is everything its predecessor, Beauty, wasn't. Two completely different versions of the title track add arty spice. "Triste" is a wonderful, lazy-afternoon stroll in Paris jazz; "Lulu" follows suit. Is there no end to this Sakamoto's talent? He does jazz, rap, and chucks in a couple of solo piano pieces reminiscent of his soundtrack work. "Songlines" came about via his score for Pedro Almodovar's High Heels. "Boram Gal" and "High Tide" – with guests Youssou N'Dour and Arto Lindsay, respectively – are both delicate and swathed in summer.
Bessie Smith, even on the evidence of her earliest recordings, well deserved the title "Empress of the Blues" for in the 1920s there was no one in her league for emotional intensity, honest blues feeling, and power. The second of five volumes (the first four are two-CD sets) finds her accompaniment improving rapidly with such sympathetic sidemen as trombonist Charlie Green, cornetist Joe Smith, and clarinetist Buster Bailey often helping her out. However, they are overshadowed by Louis Armstrong, whose two sessions with Smith (nine songs in all) fall into the time period of this second set; particularly classic are their versions of "St. Louis Blues," "Careless Love Blues," and "I Ain't Goin' to Play Second Fiddle." Other gems on this essential set include "Cake Walkin' Babies From Home," "The Yellow Dog Blues," and "At the Christmas Ball."
Behaviour is arguably Pet Shop Boys' best album – rivaled by the one that followed it, Very – so it's appropriate that it's paired with the best "further listening" component available in the reissue series. This is certainly a byproduct of the duo's high creativity between 1990-1991, but it's also a smartly selected, sharply assembled album in its own merit, containing several of the group's very best non-LP songs – "It Must Be Obvious," "Miserablism," "Bet She's Not Your Girlfriend," and the anthemic "DJ Culture" – which are sequenced between many fine extended mixes, including one of "Where the Streets Have No Name"/"I Can't Take My Eyes Off You"…
One of China's biggest pop stars of the late 20th century, Sandy Lam rose to fame in the 1980s as a Cantopop singer before expanding her fan base significantly in the 1990s with stylistically diverse albums in Mandarin, Japanese, and English.