My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden continues her artistic magnificence with You Us We All, a contemporary, multi-media baroque opera shd composed with lyrics by Andrew Ondrejcak. YUWA was written for B.O.X., a 10-piece baroque ensemble, four singers, and one actor who inhabit the roles of the allegorical characters Virtue, Love, Hope, Death and Time. Shara explains more about the opera, its soundtrack, and some fantastic opportunities for donors in her PledgeMusic video.
I opened Nathan Pacheco’s new self-titled album with some hesitancy. Another “Popera” voice attempting covers of “Hallelujah” and the requisite “Nessun Dorma?” No thanks. But then I pressed play and here I sit with a huge smile on my face. Pacheco’s voice is very good and deserving of the Josh Groban comparisons.
Particularly noteworthy are the original songs on the album, co-written by Pacheco. The centerpiece is an astonishing quartet of new songs which deserve to become modern classics – “Oyela,” “Infinito Amore,” “Tears from Heaven” and “Don’t Cry.”
They are followed by the slightly disappointing original track “Que L’Amour” before Pacheco climbs the summit of Lucio Dalla’s ode to “Caruso,” also covered on Jonathan and Charlotte’s debut. To my ear, Pacheco’s version is more accomplished.
Another standout on the album was a cover of “Now We Are Free,” originally performed by Dead Can Dance‘s Lisa Gerard for the Gladiator soundtrack. Matt Chamberlain’s drums help to make this a triumphant recording. I also appreciated the Celtic flavor added to the song and several other tracks by Eric Rigler’s uileann pipes and tin whistle.
My favorite song from the album, “Infinito Amore,” can be streamed below…
Jonathan & Charlotte will release their debut album, Together, on October 30th. If you haven’t heard of them, the teenage opera duo were this year’s Susan Boyle on Britain’s Got Talent (you can watch their crowd- and judge-stunning audition below). Tenor Jonathan Antoine, a.k.a. “the British Pavarotti,” and Soprano Charlotte Jaconelli were originally paired up by their music teacher. Their album makes it clear why, despite being runners-up on his talent competition, Simon Cowell offered them a £1 million record deal with his own label.
Charlotte initially takes the spotlight in the opener “The Prayer” until Jonathan’s awe-inspiring voice finally joins her in the second half of the song along with a backing choir. Charlotte’s angelic voice makes for very pretty harmony, but I must agree with Simon Cowell’s assessment that Jonathan’s powerful pipes overshadow hers.
The dramatic “Caruso” is better fit for both voices and proves why their vocal trainer thought they’d make a good match.
When I read the track list, I thought the world needs another “Your Song” cover like a hole in the head. However, Jonathan & Charlotte’s sublime, soaring Italian rendering takes the Elton John classic to realms it’s never visited before.
They offer a more standard, but still lovely, take on “Ave Maria.” The middle tracks do blend together a bit, but in a seamless, substantial way.
Jonathan’s extraordinary voice raises the album back up to operatic heights toward the end of “Canto Della Terra.”
The duo turns REM’s “Everybody Hurts” into an Italian lullaby with a spectacular choral finish. And Queen’s “Who Wants to Live Forever” seems to have been destined to be an opera love song.
The unexpected finale “La Prima Volta” is a beautiful Italian opera rendition of Roberta Flack’s ballad “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” The original happens to have been my wedding song, so I won’t feign impartiality. But Jonathan & Charlotte do justice to what was, in my opinion, all already perfect song while also managing to make it entirely their own.
Talent like Jonathan & Charlotte’s and an album like this doesn’t come along often, so I hope they have a long, successful career ahead of them.