Valery Gergiev directs this Kirov Opera production of Prokofiev’s lyrical comedy. Set in 18th century Seville, Prokofiev’s adaptation of a play by the English playwright Sheridan is an opera buffo par excellence, featuring lovers in disguise, a stern father thwarted, a rich suitor discomfited, venal monks, unreliable servants – and, inevitably, young love triumphant. The cast is led by Anna Netrebko as the beautiful heroine, supported by Larissa Diadkova as her scheming duenna.
Anna Nicole Smith as herself describe a "normal" day of her life and shows what she think and feel about any person or anything in her daily life. From male servant to female servant, from cook to driver, from friends to lawyers, from photographer to a camera, from bed to bath-tub, she describes everything about her daily life.
More than many opera seria, Handel's 1725 Italian opera, "Rodelinda", provides such a palpable story of jealousy, revenge and undying devotion that it is no wonder the opera itself has been given such widely diverse translations over the years. I was fortunate to experience two wonderful productions of "Rodelinda" just this past year. The first was Stephen Wadsworth's elaborate Metropolitan Opera production set on a beautiful 18th-century country estate, starring superstar soprano Renée Fleming in the title role and the extraordinary countertenor David Daniels as her husband Bertarido. The second also starred Daniels but with rising soprano Catherine Naglestad in David Alden's expressionistic film noir adaptation at the San Francisco Opera (first staged by Munich's Bavarian State Opera)… By Ed Uyeshima
John Hammond's latest album marks a major departure in one respect – for the first time in anyone's memory, he sings, but plays nothing on one of his records, while Little Charlie & the Nightcats, led by guitarist Charlie Baty, handle the guitars and everything else. The difference is very subtle, the playing maybe a little less flashy than Hammond's already restrained work – think of how good Muddy Waters sounded on the early-'60s records where he sang and didn't play. And that comparison is an apt one – even more than 35 years after he started, Hammond inevitably ends up sounding like its 1961 and he's working at Chess studios in Chicago, cutting songs between Muddy Waters sessions. Harpist Rick Estrin also contributes a smooth and eminently enjoyable original amid a brace of covers of blues standards. There is not a weak number here, and this band is a kick to listen to, sounding more naturally authentic than anybody in the 1990's has a right to (Baty's quiet pyrotechnics on "Lookin' for Trouble" would make this record worth owning, even if Hammond's singing and the rest of the songs weren't as good as they are).