Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Operatic Overload
by Gregg Shapiro
2004-04-21

This article shared 2867 times since Wed Apr 21, 2004
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


** Sissel at Park West, (773) 929-5959, on April 25

The suits at Universal Records and affiliated labels have been trying to shove classical crossover music down the throats of the American music buying public for years. It can be traced back to the mid-'90s, shortly after Universal hatched its plot to take over the music industry, and the marketing of opera singer Andrea Bocelli. Before that, it seemed that the general pop music consuming public considered opera singers, such as Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo, as being just short of novelties.

Since then, highly visible mainstream operatic vocalists such as Sarah Brightman, Charlotte Church and Josh Groban have expanded the contemporary opera audience, but it's hard to imagine Middle America abandoning Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake or Missy Elliott for more classical pursuits. In the same way that the other Euro-oriented music (Does anybody remember Eiffel 65? What about Alice Deejay?) which Universal (and associates) were attempting to force feed us at the end of the '90s was somewhat rejected, the latest crop of classical crossover confections isn't any easier to digest. Additionally, gay men, who have long been quintessential opera queens, and have been weaned on Maria Callas and Renee Fleming, probably find all of this a bit suspect.

Reminiscent of Sarah Brightman, Sissel even traverses some of the same territory on her album My Heart (Decca). Like Brightman, Sissel performs Handel's 'Lascia Ch'io Pianga,' Webber's 'Pie Jesu,' Puccini's 'O Mio Babbino Caro,' and Schubert's 'Ave Maria,' to mention a few. She even covers Groban's ground with her rendition of 'You Raise Me Up.' One nice touch is her wordless interpretation of soundtrack king Ennio Morricone's stunning 'Deborah's Theme,' from the movie Once Upon A Time In America. Sissel, who spent the early part of her career as a 'new age' vocalist, sounds like she is readily embracing her classical self. The question is whether listeners will do the same.

Sort of a cross between Sissel and Brightman, Emma Shaplin takes it all a step further by composing her own contemporary opera-style songs on Etterna (Ark 21). The first couple of the dozen songs are sung in Shapplin's soprano register, and that was more than enough for me.

The Universal records family doesn't have a monopoly on this kind of music or marketing. The Opera Band (Victor/Arista Associated Labels) by Amici Forever, comes from the land of BMG. Through interpretations of songs based on compositions by Handel ('Prayer In The Night'), Faure ('Whisper of Angels'), as well as actual pieces by Puccini ('Nessun Dorma'), and Mozart ('Soave Sia Il Vento'), to name a few, as well as 'Senza Catene,' an Italian reading of 'Unchained Melody,' this mixed-gender group attempts to broaden our horizons. The end result is that the album is almost as admirable as it is laughable.

Izzy (Manhattan), the self-titled domestic debut by Izzy (born Isobel Cooper), combines the tracks from her two European releases. As with the aforementioned Sissel (and Brightman), there are composers in common, including Handel ('Lascia Ch'io Pianga'), Puccini, Mozart, Bizet and Faure. Izzy also diverges a bit with renditions of traditional tunes such as 'Steal Away,' 'My Love Is Like A Red Red Rose,' and 'What Child Is This (Greensleeves).' To further distinguish herself, Izzy performs a duet with 'singing policeman' Daniel Rodriguez (who gained fame in the wake of 9/11) on 'The Prayer.'

Houston-born Laura Turner applies her classically trained operatic vocals to a collection of new songs on Soul Deep (Curb). Sounding as if she took inspiration from Brightman, the songs and arrangement are more than a little reminiscent of the British diva's recent releases with rhythmic beats providing the platform from which Turner's vocals are launched. This is never more obvious than on the title track and the Middle Eastern-influenced 'Illusion Of A Kiss.'

In the more than 20 years since the death of Klaus Nomi, the closest the modern rock world has come to having an opera-quality singer is probably Lisa Gerrard, formerly of Dead Can Dance. In addition to composing acclaimed movie scores, such as the ones for The Insider and Whalerider, Gerrard has released three 'solo' albums, the latest of which is Immortal Memory (4AD). Gerrard's distinctive and rich contralto vocals envelop the 10 songs on which she collaborated with composer Patrick Cassidy. Singing in Aramaic, Latin and Gaelic, Gerrard embodies the kind of passion for which Mel Gibson can only mutter unanswered prayers.


This article shared 2867 times since Wed Apr 21, 2004
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

CIFF, featuring LGBTQ+ films, running through Oct. 24
2021-10-15
North America's longest-running competitive film festival, this year's event expands throughout Chicago with presentations at venues across the city, including at AMC River East 21; the Music Box Theatre; the Gene Siskel Film Center; special drive ...


Gay News

MUSICALS 'Pretty Woman' tickets go on sale Oct. 15
2021-10-15
After a pre-Broadway run in Chicago and being on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical, based on one of Hollywood's most beloved romantic stories of all time, returns to Chicago. The production will run at the CIBC ...


Gay News

'Tapping into Ca$h' : CaSera Heining lives double life as DJ Ca$h Era and radio producer
2021-10-14
Minutes before DJ Ca$h Era hosted Lollapalooza's first drag show, the Black queer woman behind the stage name was pacing nervously behind the scenes and listening to a drag queen animatedly remind her they were "making ...


Gay News

MUSIC Janis Ian's last Chicago concert May 14
2021-10-13
In what is being advertised as her last concert in Chicago, LGBTQ singer Janis Ian will be performing at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave. on Saturday, May 14, 2022, at 8 p.m. Tickets ($48-$50) will ...


Gay News

THEATER 'Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog' running through Nov. 6
2021-10-12
Black Button Eyes Productions is welcoming back live audiences with the popular internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog—an authorized fan production to benefit the Chicago charity Season of Concern—playing through ...


Gay News

Lyric Opera running seven performances of 'The Magic Flute' Nov. 3-27
2021-10-11
Lyric Opera of Chicago is running seven performances of The Magic Flute, Mozart's final opera, on Nov. 3-27. There will be performances at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3; matinees on Nov. 7, 11, 14 and 17, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Drag Race' winners, Playboy, punk band, The Dinah, Daniel Craig
2021-10-10
Video below - As part of VH1's #LGBTQHerstoryMonth project, five winners from the RuPaul's Drag Race winner's circle—season one's BeBe Zahara Benet, All Stars 4 winner Monet X Change, season 11 winner Yvie Oddly, season 12 victor Jaida Essence ...


Gay News

Madonna's latest concert film, Madame X, now out
2021-10-09
The concept film to Madonna's acclaimed Madame X Tour has debuted in the United States Latin America, Australia, the Nordics and Canada exclusively on Paramount+, the streaming service from ViacomCBS. Fans outside these markets can watch ...


Gay News

Book about musician Tori Amos' works coming out
2021-10-07
The book Tori Amos: every album, every song—by rock journalist Lisa Torem—will be out in the United States on Friday, Oct. 29, courtesy of Sonic Bond Publishing. In 1992, Amos—an acclaimed singer, pianist and composer—achieved fame ...


Gay News

Report: Debra Shore to run EPA's Midwest operations
2021-10-07
Debra Shore—a longtime commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and member of the LGBTQ+ community—will be selected to run Midwest operations for the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Politico. ...


Gay News

Eli Tea Bar brings LGBTQ+ sober bar to Andersonville
2021-10-06
--From a press release - October 6, 2021 - Chicago, IL - Eli Tea Bar is set to open its second store located at 5507 N Clark St in Chicago, Illinois. The LGBT-owned and operated sober space plans to open later this fall and will feature ...


Gay News

MUSIC Rachael Sage at Uncommon Ground on Oct. 14
2021-10-06
Rachael Sage—described as an "award-winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and member/supporter of the LGBTQ+ community"—will perform at Uncommon Ground-Lake View, 3800 N. Clark St., on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 8 p.m. ...


Gay News

Opera singer Ketelson to give Center on Halsted performance
2021-10-05
World renowned bass-baritone opera singer Kyle Ketelsen will perform Italian arias at the Center on Halsted to raise funds both to support his alma mater, Clinton (Iowa) High School (Vocal Department) and Care for Real Pantry ...


Gay News

Pride Fest sees rainbows over rain
2021-10-05
After last year's COVID-related cancellation, the LGBTQ+-focused outdoor affair Pride Fest returned to Lake View after a delay of a few months, as it usually takes place in June. An additional full day was added to ...


Gay News

Joffrey's Nutcracker returns for the holidays
2021-09-27
--From a press release - (Chicago) — The Joffrey Ballet's reimagined holiday classic, The Nutcracker, by Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, returns to Chicago during the Joffrey's first-ever season at the historic Lyric Opera House ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.