Angelica [Atlantic]

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Angelica is an intriguing blend of opera and rock spearheaded by songwriter/composer Clif Magness and lyricist Carole Bayer Sager. The project features four sopranos -- Julia Bonilla, Anita DeSimone, Sewell Griffith and Rebecca Semrau -- who are supported by a wide array of professional studio musicians, including bassist Nathan East, pianist David Foster, the Boys Choir of Harlem and guitarists Steve Vai, Eric Johnson and Dweezil Zappa. Essentially, the album is opera songs performed with rock spirit -- big beats, big chords, big dynamics and pure intensity. Magness has rearranged selections from Verdi's Carmen, Mozart's The Magic Flute, Puccini's Madame Butterfly and Gianni Chicchi, and Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, as well as several selections from Schubert, Gounod, and Franck, for a rock band, keeping the actual arrangements and feeling of the original composition. Occasionally it works, occasionally it doesn't, but Angelica is never less than intriguing, and adventurous listeners -- particularly fans of prog rock -- might want to give it a try.

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