This 45-song, two-disc collection is subtitled "two decades of killer fretwork", and never was a set so aptly described. Chess Records was the home to seemingly every hot guitar player in the Chicago area, and many of them make their appearance here. Besides the usual label guitar hotshots (Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, Lowell Fulson, Earl Hooker, Otis Rush, Robert Nighthawk, Little Milton), space is given to sideman work from legends like Hubert Sumlin and Robert Jr. Lockwood and great one-offs by lesser-known artists like Jody Williams, Danny Overbea, Eddie Burns, Joe Hill Louis, Morris Pejoe, Lafayette Thomas and others. It seems as if everyone recorded for Chess at one time or another, also explaining the inclusion of tracks by John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Lonnie Brooks, Hound Dog Taylor and Elmore James. If electric blues guitar's your thing, then look no further than this fine two-disc compilation.
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.
Cimarosa was an expert at writing lighthearted opera buffa that zipped along. Much of this music sounds very much like his better known IL Matrimonio Segreto, coming clearly out of the same stable, but it has its distinctive elements. Here the forces of the Festival Valle D'Itria come up with a sparkling production. The singing and the orchestra come across as excellent, the conductor Eric Hull keeping things moving with a light touch that keeps it all together. The singers keep the music zipping along, and when it turns more serious, Alla Simonischvili, the lead soprano, and the others handle it well. Well recorded, especially considering that apparently we have some sort of mixture of only two straight-through live performances, and well performed this set offers a good deal of pleasure.(John Cragg)