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Operatica: "O" - Vol. 1  Print E-mail
Music Disc Reviews Audio CD
Written by Jerry Del Colliano   
Tuesday, 03 October 2000

Volume 1 - Maureen O'Flynn and Lord Vagner,
E-magine/Yahoo! Music, 2001
| Performance 6 | Sound 6 |

For many mainstream music fans, opera is a genre that you either love or hate. Operatica, the brainchild of techno producer/DJ Lord Vagner, is opera with an electronic twist. Musically, the instrumentation ranges from classical guitars, multiple violins and cellos to drum machines and MIDI programming. The featured performer on Operatica is Maureen O’Flynn, a soprano who soars through material as varied as Rachmaninoff and Vivaldi to more obscure composers like Rimsky-Korsakov and Villalobos, plus original compositions by Lord Vagner.



While not all of the composers may be familiar to you, many of the melodies probably will be, including the lead-off tune "Ave Maria." O’Flynn’s angelic voice prances on top of the highly constructed techno beats. The acoustic instruments add an air of believability to the performances, nicely tying them to their more familiar and traditional roots in this far from traditional musical application. "Charmed By A Rose," the Rimsky-Korsakov piece, is one of the largest productions on the Operatica CD, complete with translated spoken word overdubs, conga drums and a vocal range that resembles that of the Diva in the film The Fifth Element. The Lord Vagner original piece "Get Off My Land" is a tune that doesn’t really get too operatic, but it nevertheless shows off O’Flynn’s pop vocal styling. Unfortunately, the male vocal rap section of the tune takes a time warp back to C&C Music Factory, which was obviously a turnoff.

Sonically, Operatica is well done, but it is not a reference disc. Musically, there is a lot to digest. The merging of two styles works in nearly all cases with a commendable level of success. I found Operatica best suited for use as background music at home or while entertaining guests, as opposed to the type of record that draws you in completely. A hardcore opera fan may take offense at Operatica, but it may likely make Gen Y aware of the genre in a musical language that they can understand, which is what I hope Operatica’s legacy will be.









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