Posts Tagged ‘opera’

What do you get when you combine rock, funk, classical and opera with a musician that was born in Italy but is now living in the United States? You get a musician who calls himself The Venetian.

After coming to the United States, The Venetian formed a music trio that goes by his nom de plume. The rest of the trio is composed of Luca Spanio on bass and Kevin Witucky on drums and percussion. It is this musical outfit that is currently promoting an album of music that combines the previously mentioned musical genres into one unique sound. This 2011 album from The Venetian is called I Wanna Tell You a Story.

I Wanna Tell You a Story is a very apropos title for this release as the album is one of those rare releases called a “rock opera” just like A Night at the Opera by Queen or Tommy by The Who. And like those releases (and the regular operas) that came before, I Wanna Tell You a Story is divided into acts, each telling a part of the story.

The album begins with the track called “Act 1”. Sung in Italian (like the rest of the tracks that introduce the other acts of the opera), The Venetian sings the words of the track in a very operatic style, which only adds to the “opera” part of this rock opera. The piano being played by The Venetian adds a lot of beauty to the track.

It is on the second track of the album that the rock part of the rock opera comes through. The rock music that is contained within the song “Goodbye”has a lot of British Invasion influence to it while also containing just the right amount of classical feel to it. The combination of all of the elements that went into creating the song makes for one fun track.

For the track “The Black Cat,” the band takes the British Invasion influence and adds some blues feel to it. The song starts off somewhat mellow, but once the song gets going, the band settles into a groove that makes the listener want to dance to the music.

On the song “Sometimes,” the band breaks out a little funk influence in the band’s rock music. And while it is not that big an influence, the funk part of the song gives “Sometimes” an interesting twist and sets it apart from the rest of the songs on the album.

“Dancing Angel” is the track that the most amount of things to like about: From the rock base with the sideshow organ to the beautiful female vocals and the driving force of the music, you will find the song growing on you. “Dancing Angel” is easily the best track from the I Wanna Tell You a Story release from The Venetian.

“My Sweet Italian Pie” is easily the hardest rockin’ song of all of the tracks on the album. The groove created by the three musicians in the band and the guitar solos from The Venetian on the song nearly set your music player on fire.

While the title track of the album comes very late in the release,“I Wanna Tell You a Story” is as good as any of the songs that make up the first half of the release. In fact, it is on this track that the band lets loose. Because of that, the track is one of the entertaining on the album.

Speaking of letting loose, the track “Soft Snow” is an instrumental track that really shows off the talents of the musicians in the trio.

One bit of warning: The Venetian comes from Italy; because of that, it is sometimes difficult to understand him because of his accent.

Don’t let that stop you, though. The I Wanna Tell You a Story album from The Venetian contains more than enough reasons to check it out as the writing and playing of the three musicians involved have blended together to create a release that just plain fun to listen to.

Click the link for the video to the song “Soft Snow

Canadian songstress Romina Di Gasbarro is very enjoyable to listen to. It is her training in both voice and guitar that makes her music so magical. Like her English counterpart Sarah Brightman, Romina Di Gasbarro spent time in operas before she decided to start recording other things besides operatic music. And like Brightman, Romina has focused on pop music. But unlike Brightman, Romina’s pop music also contains a very large amount of jazz feeling in its sound. You will also find that instead of redoing old “standards,” Romina Di Gasbarro has decided to create her own songs for her albums. Romina Di Gasbarro is currently promoting her 2010 album entitled Poema.

Poema from Romina Di Gasbarro begins with the track “Corner of Heaven”. The beautiful voice of Romina and her guitar make up the main part of the track as guitarist David Occhipinti and bassist Andrew Downing help create the rest of the track. While it is Di Gasbarro’s voice that is the main focal point of the track, the lead guitar from David Occhipinti and the bass from Andrew Downing are what truly help to shape the feel of the music. In fact, Downing bass playing truly captures the listener’s attention on the track. Di Gasbarro’s voice, David Occhipinti’s guitar and Andrew Downing’s bass blend together to create a simple song that has an almost endless beauty in its sound.

“In the Spin” is one of the simplest tracks on the newest release from Romina Di Gasbarra. The guitars and bass are used sparingly on the track to create a simple backing track for Romina’s vocals. The vocals and music on the track are both based in soft jazz music and the vocals and music seem to complement each other well. Of the tracks on the Poema album, “In the Spin” is the track that contains the most Jazz-like approach. And the sparse feel of the music helps to reinforce the jazz feel to the track.

One of the strongest tracks on Poema from Romina Di Gasbarro is the song “Love Life Sentence”. The jazz and R&B stylings in this song bring to mind the track “Inner City Blues” from Marvin Gaye. Along with the two songs sharing a sound in their music, they both have similar ideas in their lyrics; though one (“Love Life Sentence”) is more about love and the other (“Inner City Blues”) is more about life. Both songs are written in a way that will you want to sing along. Romina’s soulful voice on “Love Life Sentence” goes well with the subject of the track. The strings on the track also add just the right amount of texture to the music. And the addition of a section of the aria “Vesti la giubba” from Ruggero Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci at the end of the track sung by tenor opera singer (and instructor) Francesco Pellegrino brings a little of Di Gasbarro’s opera background onto her album.

For the fourth track on her album, Romina Di Gasbarro goes in a slightly different direction than with any of the other tracks on the release. The song “Wild, Wild Animal” features a strong lounge music sound. In fact, with its strings and electric guitar, this track sounds as if it would have fit in with the rest of the lounge music resurgence that happened in the early 1990s. “Wild, Wild Animal” from Romina Di Gasbarro would fit right alongside “The Millionaire’s Holiday” by Combustible Edison. This song is the track on the album where Romina Di Gasbarra gets to show off her voice just a little: While listening to this track, you’ll hear Di Gasbarro’s operatic range shine through; and when she hits the high notes of the song, you’ll understand the true talent of this singer.

Perhaps the most heartfelt song on the release is the track “Scent of your Pillow”. The nylon guitar from Romina Di Gasbarro, double bass and cello from Andrew Downing, violin from Aisslin Nosky and viola from Karen Moffat combine to create a heartbreaking plea set to music. Di Gasbarro sings this song with a lot of passion and emotion. What results is a track that brings to mind the same type of “pop” music that has been produced by Sarah Brightman, although this album contains all original music as opposed to Brightman’s releases that feature covers of famous songs from Broadway. The easy feel of the music would make this track perfect for either New Age radio formats or Adult Contemporary formats. This ends up being one of the showcase pieces on the album as it shows off the musicianship of the musicians on the track as well as Di Gasbarro’s ability as a songwriter.

With the track “The Foolish & the Good (No Hit Wonder,)” a very strong Jazz feel is produced. The first few seconds of the song find Di Gasbarro seemingly evoking the spirit of English songstress Kate Bush as Di Gasbarro’s vocals bring to mind those of Bush. Those first few seconds also feature a rather laidback feel to the music. Before long, Di Gasbarro and the rest of the musicians on the track step up and take the song in a stronger direction that is part jazz and part pop music. Needless-to-say, “The Foolish & the Good (No Hit Wonder)” is one of the most unusual moments on the Poema release from Romina Di Gasbarro.

The shortest track of the release, “Rain,” is a track that features percussion that make a rain-like effect leading to a jazz sound that features a little classical feel to it. The easy pace of the song can make you imagine a nice, slow day that just begs to be enjoyed while doing nothing….. except for maybe taking a walk.

This release from one of North America’s most talented artists is well worth the 40+ minutes that make up its running time. Each of the beautifully written and arranged songs that appear on Romina Di Gasbarro’s 2010 release Poema brings her talent to life. While listening to the album, you get to enjoy, not only Di Gasbarro’ beautiful voice, but her guitar playing as well; proving that Romina Di Gasbarro is more than just a singer with a beautiful voice.