Dynamic, which has already in its catalogue a few neglected operas by Massenet, has the pleasure to offer another rarity by this composer, this Chérubin recorded live in Cagliari in 2006 year. The old Mozartian Cherubino of Le nozze di Figaro is no longer the young lad in his first naive contacts with women: his age moved on from 13 to 17 years and, of course, takes on more adolescent connotations. Massenet brings these aspects out well as he characterises Chérubin with vocal scoring that favours ample, intensely cantabile phrases, with leaps towards the acute register that give full vent to the lyrical soprano voice, with moments of sudden emphasis and equally rapid disappointments - a real tempest of hormones, light years away from the Voi che sapete of Mozart’s page boy.
Meyerbeer composed Il Crociato in just over one year, between September 1822 and the following autumn, at the end of the German composer's so-called "Italian period". Although this is an opera of great dramatic and musical complexity its première was highly successful with both audience and critics, one commentator accurately describing it as "a building of highlyapplauded construction". The plot, so rich in events, skilfully weaves historical-religious elements with private happenings and feelings. Against the background of the interreligious conflict between Christians and Muslims, the story of the main characters unfolds in an efficacious alternation of grand choral scenes and solo numbers with arias and cabalettas. Il Crociato in Egitto was Meyerbeer's last and greatest Italian success and the opera that made his name on the international scene; it was also the first of Meyerbeer's grand operas to fall into disgrace. This La Fenice production, directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi, is the first in modern times and has Patrizia Ciofi (Palmide) and the male soprano Michael Maniaci (Armando D'Orville) in the main roles.
With his mature musicianship, powerful stage presence and engaging, approachable persona, French tenor Benjamin Bernheim stands out from the operatic crowd. In April 2019, he signed a long-term exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. His debut album for the yellow label, set for release this autumn, showcases the breadth and depth of his exceptional talent in a wide-ranging selection of tenor arias.
Nina Simone Sings the Blues, issued in 1967, was her RCA label debut, and was a brave departure from the material she had been recording for Phillips. Indeed, her final album for that label, High Priestess of Soul, featured the singer, pianist, and songwriter fronting a virtual orchestra. Here, Simone is backed by a pair of guitarists (Eric Gale and Rudy Stevenson), bassist (Bob Bushnell), drummer (Bernard "Pretty" Purdie), organist (Ernie Hayes), and harmonica player who doubled on saxophone (Buddy Lucas). Simone handled the piano chores. The song selection is key here. Because for all intents and purposes this is perhaps the rawest record Simone ever cut. It opens with the sultry, nocturnal, slow-burning original "Do I Move You," which doesn't beg the question but demands an answer: "Do I move you?/Are you willin'?/Do I groove you?/Is it thrillin'?/Do I soothe you?/Tell the truth now?/Do I move you?/Are you loose now?/The answer better be yeah…It pleases me…." As the guitarists slip and slide around her husky vocal, a harmonica wails in the space between, and Simone's piano is the authority, hard and purposely slow.
Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), known professionally as Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.