Love, love, love this CD that I just discovered. I'm a huge fan of cabaret and so I was delighted to come across this collection while browsing in a classical music store. It's called Carmen Unzipped performed by Toronto duo Jean Stilwell as mezzo soprano with Patti Loach accompanying her on the piano. I've listened to Stilwell many times on the morning show at Classical 96.3 FM and always thought she had a wonderful radio voice, so I was curious to hear her singing voice. And it's terrific - clear, powerful and able to beautifully articulate the lyrics. Cabaret is all about storytelling; it works wonderfully with just a singer and a piano riffing off of each other and the choice of songs is varied and fun with a mixture of old, romantic favourites along with selections from contemporary composers such as Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich. You will laugh out loud at Taylor the Latte Boy, about falling in love with a Starbucks barista. It includes these wonderful lines: "So many years my heart has waited. Who’d have thought that love could be so caffeinated?" And for anyone who has experienced the pangs of unrequited love, the song Apathetic Man is for you. Any decent cabaret album will feature a song by Kurt Weill (one of my favourite composers), and he's represented here by a rendition of I'm a Stranger Here Myself. Stilwell also includes the song Marlene Dietrich made famous - Falling In Love Again - and the CD ends with a powerful and touching rendition of Habanera from Carmen - the role she's most famous for.
The CD notes will explain the meaning behind all her tattoos. And after listening to it, I guarantee you will want to go out and buy a new red dress.