Bellini’s Norma contains one of the most impressive and also most difficult soprano roles in the whole repertoire of opera. Few sopranos can do justice to it. The first of those who have must surely be Maria Callas, considered the outstanding interpreter of the title part. The role, along with Bellini"s opera, was interpreted in a revolutionary fashion by Joan Sutherland (born in Sydney 1926). She is the protagonist in the present recording made at the Sydney Opera House in August 1978. "La Stupenda", as Joan Sutherland was known in musical circles, ended her international career in 1990. The celebrated production by Sandro Sequi, with Fiorella Mariani"s lavish décor and costumes, concentrates entirely on the human destiny of a woman on the edge of her existence. He intelligently brings forth the priestess’ emotional world, hence showing the many facets of Norma"s character. The whole drama of events on the stage is reflected in the orchestra pit, and musical director Richard Bonynge demonstrates once again his competence for great musical theatre.
This DVD of Ariadne is a 1978 film based on Filippo Sanjust’s Vienna State Opera production. The bustling Prologue is set in the backstage area of the mogul’s palace and the 18th century costumes fit neatly. In the opera proper, the stage is transformed into a very stagey desert island with an improbable set of stairs leading to the heroine’s cave, the action spilling over into the theatre’s side boxes at times. While there’s nothing particularly imaginative about the production, it never distracts from the main event–the music. Strauss was profligate in his melodic gifts, his ability to make a reduced orchestra sound big, and his wonderful obsession with the female voice, which yields many glorious moments in the opera. Lavish casting helps.
First ever CD release of all four 1978-1983 year LP albums from Mini, the Hungarian jazz rock, prog rock band. Mini had a very successful period in the late 70s, early 80s, when they regularly held concerts for 2000-3000 fans. Released in a representative box, each CD comes in the album's original sleeve, printed in CD format. Booklet with many datas and a detailed essay in Hungarian included.
This fiery 6-piece Basque outfit from the mid-70's released a couple of folk-prog albums similar in style to Steeleye Span, Pentangle and Fairport Convention. They integrate many progressive elements to their sound (especially on their second album) but their material is predominantly folk, with male and female vocalists alternately singing solo or in chorus. As compared to many Spanish folk bands, however, Izukaitz make comparatively minor use of percussion. Instead, they'll treat you to the usual guitar/keyboard/bass set with some flute and fiddle, plenty of acoustic guitar, some percussion as well as local (Basque) instruments such as goxoak and xirula.
Argentinean group Vox Dei started playing by the end of the 1960s. After signing up to independent label Mandioca, the band released "Azucar Amarga" and "Presente" in 1969; a year later, they issued the album Caliente. Vox Dei's conceptual album La Biblia, released in 1971, consolidated the band as one of the major local rock numbers. When Juan Carlos Godoy decided to leave the act, Ignacio Smilari joined in. Soon after Jeremias, Pies De Plomo came out, Vox Dei participated in a movie called Rock Hasta Que Se Ponga El Sol. In 1974, guitarist Carlos Michelini replaced Ricardo Soulé. The group disbanded after a live performance at Buenos Aires' Obras Sanitarias in 1981, returning in 1988 to make a new record called Tengo Razones Para Seguir…
Incantations is the fourth record album by Mike Oldfield, released in late 1978 on Virgin Records. After a two-year pause following Boxed, Mike Oldfield released a new epic project, this one spread over four vinyl sides and devoted to Native American themes rather than hewing once more toward the Celtic end of the spectrum. Included was Oldfield's musical adaptation of "The Song of Hiawatha," which had a nice sense of the dramatic when it came to dynamic range. After this, Oldfield would not return to album-length concepts for quite some time.