More seasoned in years than Josh Groban, this Rhodesia-born and Greek-raised and cultured tenor is a veteran stage performer well versed in everything from classical opera to popular musical theater, even Shakespeare. With Peter Asher as executive producer, the idea is to showcase the ethnic and multi-lingual diversity of an extraordinary artist while also nudging him into the mainstream of adult contemporary music. The good news is that he has an equal, relaxed facility for English, Spanish, Italian, and his native Greek, and like Groban, he even engages the hearts of listeners who can't understand the words (translations are included). The general technique is the slow groove beginning with subdued vocals, then a burst of passion and sizzle as the beat and production values pick up. Producer Steve Woods contributes a few new dramatic tracks (the best of these is the soaring, wistful "Vincerò, Perderò"), but it's even more interesting to hear what Frangoulis does with material based on Puccini (the seductive, exotic ballad "Sometimes I Dream") and classics from the film Life is Beautiful (the mystical "Buongiorno Principessa") and Nino Rota (an atmospheric, flamenco-tinged "Canzone Arrabbiata"). Rock fans looking for a connective thread will gravitate to the balmy Italian-to-English version of the Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin," whose pop-classical flavor is perfect for an artist trying to bridge those two genres. Justin Hayward is on hand to sing along and nod his approval of this loving tribute.
Review by Jonathan Widran
|Life Is Beautiful (La Vita é Bella), film score|
feat: Justin Hayward