From the outset of his recording career, Maurizio Pollini has championed modern music – in benchmark accounts of Bartók, Boulez, Manzoni, Nono, Prokofiev, Schoenberg, Stravinsky and Webern, to which can be added his later recordings of Debussy and Berg. Here are his complete recordings of 20th-century music, brought together on a specially-priced 6-CD set for the first time.
Jimmy Somerville performed a unique one-off special acoustic set in the summer of 2015 at the famous Stella Polaris festival in Denmark with many of his well-known songs re-imagined. This souvenir release marks the very first time that a solo Jimmy Somerville live release has been made commercially available. The power of Jimmy's voice is evident in these inventive, all new acoustic arrangements of songs drawn from the full breadth of Jimmy's 30 year plus career including his breakthrough singles 'Smalltown Boy' and 'Why?' with Bronski Beat, his UK number one single 'Don't Leave Me This Way' with the Communards and two undisputed highlights, 'Some Wonder' and 'Back To Me' from his recent album 'Homage' - his authentic celebration of the sound of the disco era. Jimmy's vocal range and dexterity is breathtaking and his backing band and singers blend incredibly into a soulful re-working of hits and favourite tracks from his extensive songbook. All in all, Jimmy is a performer and an artist at the pinnacle of his talents and demonstrably determined to have, and to give, a good time to his legions of loyal fans.
In spring 2011, the first-ever performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera of Rossini's Le Comte Ory brought standing ovations and critical-acclaim. The spectacular trio of Juan Diego Florez, Diana Damrau and Joyce DiDonato ignited vocal and theatrical fireworks. Le Comte Ory tells the story of a libidinous and cunning nobleman who disguises himself first as a hermit and then as a nun ("Sister Colette") in order to gain access to the virtuous Countess Adele, whose brother is away at the Crusades. The 2011 Met production was directed by the Tony Award-winning Broadway director Bartlett Sher, who in recent years has also staged Il barbiere di Siviglia and Les Contes d'Hoffman for the Met. Sher presented the action as an opera within an opera, updated the action by a few centuries and giving the costume designer, Catherine Zuber, the opportunity to create some particularly extravagant headgear. Juan Diego Florez starred as the title role while Diana Damrau plays his love interest, Countess Adele, and Joyce DiDonato was in breeches as his pageboy Isolier. The trio had appeared in Sher's production of Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia.