Everyone knows Offenbach's famous "Can-can" from the operetta Orpheus in the Underworld, but how many casual listeners have heard it in its original version, as a chorus of demons(!) in Hades? In fact, the version best known is this one, as arranged for the ballet Gaîté Parisienne by the delightful French composer and conductor Manuel Rosenthal. The work has been a staple of the Monte-Carlo ballet for about six decades, and Naxos has assembled the orchestra that knows it best for what amounts to a brand-new, original cast production, led by none other than the 95 years young Rosenthal.
This selection of pieces from Offenbach operettas (and one opera) raises a question: why hasn't Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova made more of a specialty of comic roles in her recordings? Her operatic discography, with very few exceptions, consists of serious characters, but the flair with which she performs these arias and ensembles demonstrates a real comic gift, and that's something of a rarity in opera stars. (Her stage roles, in fact, are pretty well balanced between serious and comic operas, with a fair number of Rossini, Mozart, and Offenbach comedies in her repertoire.) The current disc at least begins to rectify the gap in her recorded legacy.
The exceptional nature and high artistic quality of this performance justify publication of this video even though the filming was done only to preserve the performance for Teatro Regio's archives and therefore offers few close-up shots and occasionally unclear lighting.
Weather Report must have been one of the most important Jazz-Rock groups from the 1970s, founded by his two major instrumentalists Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter 40 years ago. Late 1970s Weather Report was at the very height of its success and featured, except Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, guitar legend Jaco Pastorius and drummer Peter Erskine. In September - October 1978 they toured along Europe and were scheduled for a dozen concerts; the live concert at the Stadthalle in Offenbach was recorded and is now available on a 2cd album and a DVD, which offers this complete concert. A must-have for all Weather Report fans. Keep Swinging loves to point you to this kind of historical concerts.
Domingo, Sutherland, Bacquier and Tourangeau star in this lively and very French recording of "Hoffmann". Richard Bonynge, the conductor, follows what he considered at the time to be the most "Offenbach-ish" version of the opera, one in which a little new music is added, other music is cleaned up, other music left alone and the recitatives cut out all together. The cast is entirely French except for Domingo and Sutherland, so it is a delightful experience to hear Frenchies speak French in true Opera-Comique style.
- By "bellavoce"-
Brilliant recording of favorite ballet scores by a conductor who commands an appropriately energetic approach. The sound here is exceptionally live, with remarkable definition of various instruments and real "bite" to the reproduction.(Billboard, Jan 1958)