In 1988 when this period-instrument Figaro was released, the style was still a novelty, and Ostman gained some notoreity for his rushed tempos as well as the scrawniness of his chamber orchestra, by far the smallest to play this great opera on CD. Yet when I read a glowing review by Andrew Porter in the New Yorker, I immediately bought the performance, shortly discovering that it was a true gem in the extensive Figaro catalog.
By Santa Fe Listener
Ugo Conte di Parigi unfortunately, did not repeat the success of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena, because the Austrian censorship, which in that period was particularly strict and obtuse, requested a series of important changes that compromised its dramatic essence and, after 1846, the work disappeared altogether from the repertoire. Ugo Conte di Parigi really did not deserve such a fate, for it is - especially from the musical point of view - a work worthy of the best Donizetti, rich in moving melodies and compelling concertati.
This recording brings back an obscure session from the long defunct Andex label that was probably recorded around 1956. The emphasis is on Latin jazz with altoist Art Pepper, trumpeter Conte Candoli, tenor saxophonist Bill Perkins, pianist Russ Freeman, bassist Ben Tucker, and drummer Chuck Flores interacting with the percussion of Jack Costanza and Mike Pacheko. With arrangements by Bill Holman, Johnny Mandel, Benny Carter, and Pepper, the music is quite jazz-oriented if a touch lightweight. Worth investigating by fans of the idiom.
Lehar retired professionally after making money on more more than thirty successful comic operettas. He then toured Europe at his own expense producing experimental Musicals for superstar tenor Richard Tauber. PAGANINI, the first in this set, premiered in Vienna in 1925, is iconic as an early successful Musical. The scene is set near Tuscany around 1805…
By L. Wernicki
Two queens on one island. A recipe for disaster. Especially as both have a legitimate claim to the other’s throne. They are, after all, related… So the power politics are the name of the game. And, for reasons of state, one of the heads that wears a crown has to roll…