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East Village Opera Company
     

The East Village Opera Company

4.3 3
by The East Village Opera Company
 
The great thing about opera -- once you get rid of the lavish sets, the implausible plots, and the fat lady wearing a Viking helmet -- is the abundance of beautiful melodies, pure and simple. That's why so many arias were pop hits in their day, and that's why singers like the Three Tenors have become pop icons in our time. It's also why

Overview

The great thing about opera -- once you get rid of the lavish sets, the implausible plots, and the fat lady wearing a Viking helmet -- is the abundance of beautiful melodies, pure and simple. That's why so many arias were pop hits in their day, and that's why singers like the Three Tenors have become pop icons in our time. It's also why the East Village Opera Company is worth your attention now. Though it draws from 7 different composers (and 12 operas), this troupe's self-titled debut album unfolds like an hour-long opera, from curtain-raising overture (Mozart's Marriage of Figaro) through romance (most of the five Puccini excerpts) and lust (Bizet's Carmen, naturally) to tragic end (the lament from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas). The idea of "East Village Opera" may remind you of the rock musical Rent, which borrowed its story from La Bohème, and that's a fair point of reference. The EVOC's arrangements turn the tunes into everything from arena rock anthems ("Nessun dorma") to trip-hop ballads ("O mio babbino caro"), but they show far more respect for the classical originals than other crossover groups like Bond or Amici Forever. Skeptics and purists beware: "Un bel dì" gets the tear ducts flowing just as easily with synths and electric guitars as it does with an orchestra. Best of all, the vocals turn out to be the EVOC's trump card. Lead singer Tyley Ross has an expressive and surprisingly supple voice, and even though AnnMarie Milazzo can sing him under the table with sheer power, their duets (the "Flower Duet" from Lakmé and Bizet's "Au fond du temple saint") are the album's standout tracks. Much classical crossover is (at best) a guilty pleasure, but the EVOC's playful ingenuity offers all the pleasure of opera and pop alike, and with a clear conscience to boot.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
If you think the Who had the last word in rock opera and that Queen was the end all in operatic pop, the East Village Opera Company -- a powerhouse five-piece band with a string quartet and two compelling vocalists -- will have you rethinking those precepts. The success of foreign-language-driven pop by Josh Groban and il Divo no doubt made it possible for this unique outfit to adapt some of these opera classics into a 21st century context. The Mozart-composed overture (from "Le Nozze di Figaro") has some of those Who-like synthesizer speckles over an insistent drumbeat before a blistering rock assault begins, which is sort of like paying homage to one of the great sources of the concept. Though the first-time listener who is not an opera fan may not know all the original titles (whose composers include Puccini, Verdi, and Bizet), it's a great introduction to the art form because each track is performed at full length and in the original languages. The best of these are the synth-metal jam "La Donna e Mobile" from Rigoletto, a soulful and symphonic sweep through "Habanera" from Carmen (which should ring a bell), and "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot. The East Village Opera Company was co-founded by lead singer Tyley Ross and arranger/multi-instrumentalist Peter Kiesewalter. They assembled a full-on rock band, adding two guitars, bass, and drums to Kiesewalter's keyboards, then synched it to a string quartet. A second vocalist, Ann Marie Milazzo, was recruited for explosive duets with Ross and various soaring solos. The project was produced by three-time Grammy winner Neil Dorfsman, with string arrangements recorded in Prague by the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Calvin Wilson
An offbeat delight.... "The East Village Opera Company" exudes an unconventional passion.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/27/2005
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0602498839829
catalogNumber:
000518102
Rank:
155462

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

East Village Opera Company   Primary Artist,Ensemble
Peter Kiesewalter   Conductor,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Group Member
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Pauline Kim   Violin
Ben Butler   Guitar,Group Member
Nir "Z" Zidkyahu   Percussion,Drums,Group Member

Technical Credits

Georges Bizet   Composer
Giacomo Puccini   Composer
Henry Purcell   Composer
Giuseppe Verdi   Composer
Pete Townshend   Composer
Alfredo Catalani   Composer
Neil Dorfsman   Producer,Engineer,Engineering
Peter Kiesewalter   Arranger,Programming,Orchestration,Additional Music
Deborah Mannis-Gardner   Sample Clearance
Renato Simoni   Librettist,Composer
Nahum Tate   Librettist,Composer
Giuseppe Adami   Librettist,Composer
Michel Carré   Librettist,Composer
Eugène Cormon   Librettist,Composer
East Village Opera Company   Arranger
Tyley Ross   Composer,Lyricist
Dan Gillis   Management
Ludovic Halévy   Librettist
Henri Meilhac   Librettist,Composer
Giuseppe Giacosa   Librettist,Composer
Luigi Illica   Librettist,Composer
Francesco Maria Piave   Librettist
AnnMarie Milazzo   Lyricist
Gary Chester   Engineering
Steve Martin   Booking
Philippe Gille   Librettist
Edmond Gondinet   Librettist
Jessica Herman Weitz   Management
Giovacchino Forzano   Librettist

Customer Reviews

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The East Village Opera Company 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once you experience the concept of opera as presented by EVOC you'll wonder why it has taken so long for a musical group to do what they have. Making opera incredibly sexy, alive, and vital in a way that you've got to hear to believe. this group has made fans of opera buffs and rockers alike.I had the joy of seeing their show in San Francisco and they are incredible in person, not just a studio band. The energy and passion of EVOC literally had the sold-out crowd on their feet. Check out their website for tour info and see them in these small, intimate venues while you can. I predict big things for these guys.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I do agree that it was a great idea to redue old opera arias, but still... Some of the songs just seem a little weird to me modernized. The thing that stuck out the most is that they got a guy to sing "O Mio babbino caro". I am a soprano studying opera and I know what that song is about. A fifteen year old girl is asking her father to give her permission to marry the man she loves. If he does not let her, she will jump into the Ponte Vechio river and kill herself. I just think that it is strange that a man would sing that song. Also, I say they should have a soprano do the soprano songs. "The Flower Duet" just is not the same without the soaring "a" and "b"'s. Still, it is a worthy attempt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago