Italy's foremost female rock singer, Gianna Nannini, was born in Siena on June 14, 1956, to a family that included a renowned industrialist and Siena Football Club president father and a Formula One pilot brother. Often described as the creative rebel in the family, Nannini attended the Lucca Conservatory throughout her entire adolescence, where she was trained as a pianist. At age 19, she decided to become a professional musician, and left her home for Milan, where she began to perform in local bars and small venues…
The Metropolitan Opera give this live performance of Rossini's work based on the poem by Sir Walter Scott. Michele Mariotti conducts the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus with Joyce DiDonato as Elena, the lady of the lake, who loves the heroic Malcolm (Daniela Barcellona). However, King James V (Juan Diego Flórez) arrives in the Highlands and sets his sights on Elena while her father Douglas (Oren Gradus), who is rebelling against the King's rule, promises his daughter to clan chief Rodrigo (John Osborn).
It is appropriate that the first recording of the first version of Forza should come from St Petersburg, where the work had its premiere in 1862. However, whilst the premiere was predominantly an Italian affair, this set is given entirely by Russian artists. The differences between this version and Verdi's 1869 revision for La Scala are marked: they are delineated by two essays in the accompanying booklet but even more discerningly in Julian Budden's indispensable The Operas of Verdi (in this case Vol. 2, Cassell: 1978). So it isn't necessary for me to rehearse here all the changes (even if I had the space to do so), only the main ones.
La Habana: Rio Conexion is saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera's attempt to bring the gospel of historical bolero to American listeners. These 12 cuts are steeped in the grand Cuban tradition and reinsert its cultural and historical center into a music that has been watered down to the point of being nondescript. But, of course, this is also a jazz recording, and D'Rivera is a jazz musician. The rhythmic and harmonic extrapolations are minimal, however, and focus on the integral form of the music whether it be the album's opening danza, Ernesto Lecuona's "La Comparsa," or the chorinho that closes the proceedings, Pixinguinha's "Segura Ele."
The cycle of 125 variations that Costanzo Festa composed on the famous melody called La Spagna is conceived on a scale unique during the Renaissance, and may justly be described as a compositional tour-de-force. It has been comparisons to works such as Johann Sebastian Bach's Goldberg Variations. This budget priced reissue, released for the first time in 2003, features a selection of these variations performed by the Huelgas-Ensemble.
Puccini’s musical vision of the American West is vividly brought to life in Giancarlo Del Monaco’s atmospheric production. Deborah Voigt is Minnie, the girl of the title and owner of a bar in a Californian mining camp. Marcello Giordani sings Dick Johnson, the bandit-turned-lover hunted by the cynical sheriff Jack Rance (Lucio Gallo), who wants Minnie for himself. Complete with whiskey-drinking cowboys, gunplay, a poker game, and a snowstorm, La Fanciulla del West is Puccini at his most colorful.
Après 2 ans sans album, Jean-Louis Murat revient avec Grand Lièvre. Enregistré en quelques jours dans le sud de la France, le disque sonne comme s'il avait été capté dans les conditions du live. Dix titres aux musiques et textes magnifiques, des thèmes chers à l'auteur : la nature, la dérision de la condition humaine, le doute, l'amour, la solitude. Mais ici magnifiés, nimbés de mélodies tournoyantes, à la fois familières et surprenantes, agrémentées de bruissements, bruitages et dialogues mystérieux, et, nouveauté muratienne, de choeurs hypnotiques et lumineux. Du Murat au sommet de son art, intime et immédiat, secret et universel. A savourer avec de grandes oreilles.