Alan Curtis, described by the New York Times' as "one of the great scholar-musicians of recent times", conducts a brilliant cast including Sonia Prina, Ann Hallenberg, Max-Emanuel Cencic and Topi Lehtipuu in the original, 1750 version of Gluck's Ezio, described by Curtis as "from a dramatic point of view, perhaps the finest of Gluck's pre-Orfeo operas".
Written to a libretto by the prolific and influential Metastasio, Ezio exemplifies the formal opera seria that Gluck sought to leave behind with his so-called reform operas such as Orfeo and Alceste; but after Orfeo's epoch-making premiere in Vienna in 1762 he revised Ezio for performance at the city's Burgtheater in 1763…
Since gaining fame as a member of Charlie Haden's excellent Quartet West, Alan Broadbent has seen his own catalog rise in stature. A welcome development, since a wider audience should check out the many fine recordings this unique pianist/composer/arranger has made. And in spite of the admission that his highly lyrical bent and soft touch come out of the work of Bill Evans, Red Garland, and Nat "King" Cole, among others, Broadbent is able to produce fresh solo conceptions and plenty of original material of his own. In fact, as the title implies, Personal Standards consists almost entirely of self-penned cuts, save for one by bassist Putter Smith. (This seamless piano trio is rounded out by drummer Joe LaBarbera.) Along with material also heard on various Quartet West recordings like "The Long Goodbye" and "Song of Home," the disc features a nice mix of ballads ("Ballad Impromptu"), mid- to up-tempo swingers ("Consolation"), as well as some blues ("Uncertain Terms").
This is probably Peter Greenaway's most famous (or infamous) film, which first shocked audiences at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival and then on both sides of the Atlantic. A gang leader (Michael Gambon), accompanied by his wife (Helen Mirren) and his associates, entertains himself every night in a fancy French restaurant that he has recently bought. Having tired of her sadistic, boorish husband, the wife finds herself a lover (Alan Howard) and makes love to him in the restaurant's coziest places with the silent permission of the cook (Richard Bohringer). Though less cerebral than Greenaway's other films, featuring deadly passions reminiscent of Jacobean revenge tragedies of the early 17th century, the picture still offers the director's usual ironic and paradoxical comments on the relations between eating and sex, love and death.