BEST CD STORE (CLASSICAL) - 2001
Not long ago, an opera fan from a rural town happened to charge a Minneapolitan with finding a CD set of Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers), a somewhat obscure opera composed by Georges Bizet. Time was in short supply: The opera, like an organ transplant, was needed immediately. Understanding this dire situation, our Minneapolitan gofer quickly dashed to Cheapo, a bit angstful that the Uptown haven for alt-indie music lovers might disappoint. But upon her visit to the opera shelves, her sigh of relief rang out through the eerily quiet classical music section, with its rows and rows of CDs separated from the rest of the store by noise-blocking glass. At Cheapo it is easy to relax and browse through the ample selection, from the ABC's of opera (Aida, La Bohème, Carmen) to less common works from the Kronos Quartet or Krzysztof Penderecki. And besides having a selection that never lets you down, Cheapo also boasts a staff that actually knows about classical music. Say you're looking for a recording of Brahms's First Symphony, one conducted by someone who lollygags less than Herbert von Karajan, for instance; the clerks at Cheapo can expound on the subtleties of Claudio Abbado vs. Sir Georg Solti. Prices for the new CDs here are as low as you'll find anywhere, but with a wide variety of budget classical and used CDs for as little as five bucks, Cheapo earns its name.