Recorded live at Paris’ Châtelet Theatre in Autumn 2014, this is a magical stage adaptation of Jacques Demy’s iconic 1964 film Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). Michel Legrand conducts a 75-piece symphony orchestra in his own hauntingly lyrical score, while the pivotal role of Madame Emery is taken by soprano Natalie Dessay, renewing the collaboration she established with Legrand on the 2013 Erato album Entre elle et lui.
Composed by multi-award-winning artist Michel Legrand and written by American poets Alan & Marilyn Bergman, this album is made up of a cycle of songs. It tells the story of a woman s life from birth to death, passing by all of its highlights: childhood, adolescence, first love, and motherhood. Composed and written in the 70 s, the project was never completed. Thanks to Natalie's input, Michel Legrand rewrote the score and Alan & Marilyn Bergman rewrote the lyrics especially for her in order to give a second life to this project. This masterpiece was recorded last September in London at the Air Studio with the London Studio Orchestra, conducted by Michel Legrand.
Ice Station Zebra (1968) is a Cold War thriller following a U.S. submarine and its mysterious British passenger on a top-secret mission to the North Pole. Based on a novel by Alistair MacLean, the film features fine performances by Rock Hudson, Patrick McGoohan, Ernest Borgnine and an all-male supporting cast. The combination of realistic military protocol and high-adventure espionage—as well as groundbreaking special effects and production design—won the film many admirers, among them the late Howard Hughes. Michel Legrand was best-known for pop-based scores like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Thomas Crown Affair, but was no less creative and dynamic in the symphonic Hollywood idiom (The Three Musketeers). His score for Ice Station Zebra is at once epic yet also offbeat, with powerful main themes dressed in an intricate web of mystery and suspense. The film is first and foremost a military story, but in Legrand's hands it becomes almost like a Cold War ballet, with a polished, artistic sheen to its danger. Legrand himself provided the terrific orchestrations and conducted the 75-piece orchestra in a five-channel stereo recording.
In his latest Decca DVD release, bel canto star Juan Diego Flórez undertakes the role of Elvino in Bellini’s romantic drama, playing opposite the mercurial French soprano, Natalie Dessay, in the Met’s striking, modern-dress production from March 2009. Bellini’s romantic opera La Sonnambula (1831), hinges on the love and misunderstanding between Elvino and Amina (the ‘sleepwalker’ of the title). Discovered in the bedroom of Rodolfo, Amina is assumed to have been unfaithful, and Elvino cancels their wedding. But in the dramatic final scene, he witnesses Amina sleepwalking, understands her innocence, and all ends happily. Mary Zimmerman’s production plays with the dual realities of a rehearsal of the opera and a performance of the opera itself.