This album overlaps considerably with the Treasure release by New Zealand-born soprano Hayley Westenra, a rather irritating marketing device that suggests Westenra's management was uncomfortable with the new range of Treasure and wanted a shorter version that would fit more easily within established categories. Even the interior graphics overlap, although the covers are different. Evaluated on its own merits it is less interesting than Treasures, although those who already like Westenra and are enamored of the idea of hearing her voice applied to Celtic-flavored crossover music may find it's just the ticket. The music is by no means exclusively Celtic; "Summer Fly" is an ambitious American folk or country song by New England writer Cheryl Wheeler, "Sonny" is a song from Newfoundland, and "One Fine Day" is simply Puccini's "Un bel di" translated into English and not especially convincingly done by Westenra. But the Maori "E Pari Ra" has been removed from the program, and several other changes smooth it out as well; it is heavier on extremely familiar pieces ("Danny Boy," "Shenandoah," and "The Last Rose of Summer," among others) than Treasure is. The result is a less varied program that basically leaves the listener with Westenra and her silvery voice, which you either like or hate. British critic Ian Sime compares it to "camomile tea and essential oils [that] aid sleep and recovery," which suggests the difficulty of making any kind of judgment about it. Westenra tends to sound the same whatever she sings, and the result here is more specifically directed at her hardcore fans than Treasure is. If the idea of hearing Hayley Westenra sing Celtic music gives you the shivers already, this is the album to pick. If you're new to her music, give Treasure a try first.
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AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), opera|