Amaury Vassili

Vincero

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One of the year's more notable if not outstanding revelations for French classical crossover fans, Vincerò marks the debut album of 19-year-old prodigy Amaury Vassili, whose vocal prowess is a wonder to behold. In the course of 12 songs in around 45 minutes, Vassili proves himself not only a gifted tenor, but versatile, as well. He sings both French- and Italian-language material, and even throws in a couple English-language standards for good measure. The couple English-language songs, Queen's "Who Wants to Live Forever" and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," are somewhat surprising in that they're both shopworn standards most likely to be heard on an episode of Nouvelle Star than a typical French classical crossover album, but that's precisely why they're such pleasant inclusions. They're welcome reminders that Vassili is still a teenager and presumably doesn't take himself too seriously. Then again, this is a classical crossover album after all, and songs like these as well as "Parla Più Piano," the Italian-language version of "Speak Softly Love (Love Theme from the Godfather)," are ideal material for crossing over to the popular music marketplace from the realm of classical, which is represented here by a bit of Beethoven on "Fragile." In collaboration with producer Quentin Bachelet, composers Davide Esposito, and Stanislas Renoult -- both of whom are recording artists themselves, the latter best known as simply Stanislas -- are tasked with crafting original material for Vincerò. While the three Renoult contributions ("Vincerò," "Un Angelo," "Per Te") aren't especially remarkable, Esposito is credited with the front-loaded highlights "Lucente Stella" and "Io Ti Amerò."

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