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December 8, 2008
A notable Grammy nod...

Well, it's Grammy time again. And as always, this year list of classical music nominees offers an impressive combination of newcomers and heavy hitters, each of them deserving an award.

And among the nominees is one of my favorite opera recordings of the year.

That work is the "Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny," (released by EuroArts).

That opera (or is it a musical?), debuted in 1930, and is a collaboration between Weill and playwright/librettist Bertold Brecht.

The recording is up for two Grammys this year - one in the Best Classical Album category, the other for Best Opera Album.

The Grammy nods are well deserved.

In the hands of the LA Opera, "Mahagonny" gets a modern and Broadway-like treatment. Much of that due to the inspired direction of Tony award-winning director John Doyle.

There's so much to like about this super-talented cast, which includes Audra McDonald in one of the most sizzling turns by a woman in any opera in recent memory. And Patti Lupone and Anthony Dean Griffey give strong acting and singing performances. And, as always, when James Conlon conducts, its top notch work.

One of the most striking things about this work is how it seems so topical.

With "Mahagonny" Brecht and Weill spin an elegant and jazzy moral parable about a cynical and corrupt society. It's both breezy and deep.

During its time the tale was seen as an analogy for the Nazi regime.

These days, it is easy to fill in the blanks.

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