Omara Portuondo, Eliades Ochoa, Francisco Repilado (Compay Segundo), Ibrahin Ferrer y Rubén González, all legendary figures of the Cuban music scene, shine in the recording world for their invaluable contribution to the success reached by Buenavista Social Club. This collection offers us five compilations on 5 CD’s, each dedicated to these five legends. They include selected themes of anthologies previously published from these great artists. It also includes a booklet with wide comments of noted musicologists deepening the history of each one of these figures and their significance in the Cuban musical context.
The Marriage of Figaro, as this elegant 1994 production brilliantly reminds us, was a French bedroom comedy before it became a Mozart opera. It is a classic of French literature, and it is still enjoyable as a spoken play after more than two centuries of existence. Its literary quality gives this production a special flavor. The music–some of Mozart's finest–is beautifully presented by a carefully chosen international cast (including Giovanni Furlanetto, Elzbieta Szymtka, Janice Watson, and Ludovic Tezier), but what sets this production apart is its theatrical flavor, cultivated by a director who is an expert on classic French theater. The standards of spoken theater are upheld in timing, body language, the inflection of punch lines. These qualities are more important here than in most operas; style is both crucial and elusive. Fortunately, the Opera de Lyon, one of most imaginative companies in Europe, shows an impressive sense of style. (Joe McLellan)