Æterna Romantica is the second of Natalie Choquette's trilogy of Æterna discs, and unlike the other two, this one is primarily made up of nonvocal works given new settings with text. The intent of the album is to celebrate the singing melodies of these pieces, regardless of whether they were originally intended for voice or not, and its overall mood is one of beauty and soothing calm, with a tinge of melancholy. Most of the arrangements are by Choquette's husband Éric Lagacé, and it is lovely in sound, stopping just short of being too dreamy and cloyingly romantic or sentimental, lyrics aside. Choquette wrote most of them herself, and while not inappropriate, they are not greatly inspired. Most are about true love and hope. The worst of them is "Sing with Me," set to Dvorák's Largo from the New World Symphony. The melody is already well known as the song "Going Home," and Choquette might have done better to stick with that text than hers, which brings to mind Andrew Lloyd Webber love duets. More successful are pieces like Schéhérazade, wherein Choquette describes the charming storyteller, and the original vocal works such as "Je t'ai donné mon Coeur" (Dein ist mein ganzes Herz) from Lehar's operetta Das Land des Lächelns, which is tastefully done without the sweeping grandeur it usually gets. Æterna Romantica will appeal not only to Choquette's fans, but also to a wider, crossover audience looking for something that is romantic and peaceful and performed with elegance.
AllMusic Review by Patsy Morita
|Les contes d'Hoffmann, opera in 4 acts|
|Das Land des Lächelns (The Land of Smiles), operetta in 3 acts (revision of "Die gelbe Jacke")|
|Rusalka, opera, B. 203 (Op. 114)|
|L' elisir d'amore, opera|
|Nabucco, opera (Nabucodonosor)|
|L' incoronazione di Poppea, opera in 3 acts, SV 308|