Beyond Imagination

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There's more to the Opera Babes than what meets the eye. Yes, they're blonde and attractive, and they favor slinky outfits emblazoned with animal prints. But mezzo Karen England and soprano Rebecca Knight bring plenty of substance along with their style. They're serious musicians whose aim it is to attract a wider and younger audience to a medium they love. Their goal, England says, is "to make opera and classical music less intimidating." As such, this debut album offers an assortment of decidedly unconventional versions of popular arias and familiar themes. Selections such as Puccini's "Un Bel Di," Delibes's "Flower Duet," Orff's "O Fortuna," and Verdi's "Vittoria," as well as adaptations of melodies by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, and Dvorak, among others, boast eclectic arrangements that showcase the diverse imaginations of producers such as Frank Gallagher, Anne Dudley, and Jim Steinman. But regardless of the setting, the clear, bright voices of England and Knight always shine through. Purists and hard-liners may not take to the duo's somewhat freewheeling approach, but open-minded listeners will surely discover that "serious" music can be fun.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), opera
feat: Kodo
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16
2 5:22
Symphony No. 9 in E minor ("From the New World"), B. 178 (Op. 95) (first published as No. 5)
3 4:36
A Midsummer Night's Dream, incidental music, Op. 61
4 5:03
Carmina Burana, scenic cantata for soloists, choruses & orchestra
5 2:53
Lakmé, opera
La Wally, opera (dramma musicale) in 4 acts
7 3:41
Nuovo cinema paradiso, film score (aka Cinama Paradiso)
8 3:52
Carmen, opera
feat: Juan Martín
10 3:32
Kismet, musical (after works by Alexander Borodin)
11 4:20
Symphony No. 9 in D minor ("Choral"), Op. 125
12 3:45
Nutcracker, suite from the ballet, Op. 71a
13 3:04
Les contes d'Hoffmann, opera in 4 acts
14 2:43
Lakmé, opera
blue highlight denotes track pick