Search - Vincenzo Bellini, Georges Bizet, Alfredo Catalani :: Operatunity Winners

Operatunity Winners
Vincenzo Bellini, Georges Bizet, Alfredo Catalani
Operatunity Winners
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #1


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Distinct pleasure
J. Anderson | Monterey, CA USA | 08/25/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The Operatunity competition, shown on PBS' Great Performances', was a class act, a really interesting idea that culminated with verve in a great success! I hope somebody puts it on dvd. This disc of the two winners of that operatic adventure is an introduction to two fine singers. Gilchrist has the more possessing instrument, not only capable of but seemingly born to a legato line. Her voice is the more Italianate of the two, and her singing soars. She's surely the more assured singer of the two. In fact, her inner assurance as a singer is astonishing, given she was working as a checker in an English supermarket when she entered the Operatunity competition. Amazing stuff. Leigh's voice is arresting, and often beautiful. She recalls a young de los Angeles in some ways, mysterious timbre, at times exhibiting a wonderful otherworldly quality. Her 'mio babbino caro' has beautifully lean lines and lustrous singing. The selections are well chosen, and the engineering is especially well done, with fine balances and loving attention to the singers. The whole disc is a kind of well sung opera primer, and picking up a copy will help the beginning careers of two fine singers."
Denise Leigh has a new Solo Album
Billy Bigaloe | new england | 03/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"'Pie Jesu' from Denise Leigh is AVAILABLE FROM AMAZON.CO.UK

The 'Operatunity Winners' recital album is a demo disc by any other name which was justifiably a run away success (topping the British Classical charts for six months and selling more than 100,000 copies. It followed their television discovery and introduced the (European) world to the voices of Leigh and Gilchrist, but despite being rich in colour and as varied as most recital albums dare to be it is not a good indicator of (either of their) possibilities or personal sensibilities, musical and dramatic - it dipped it's foot in the water and occasionally went for a swim. Now Denise Leigh's album 'Pie Jesu' is a collection which luxuriates in, if not the deep end, at least enough full emersion to satisfy our growing desire to hear this shining example of what a modern dramatic musical artist should be. She presents us with a programme of her beloved Baroque and Bel canto specials teamed with a few operatic favourite arias (more personally chosen than last time), some 'modern' classical song and sacred work plus the inevitable Christmas single.

Let's forget the idea that her voice is "light" in any negative sense. She is simply an artist who fits her changing sound to the music she is singing and it wasn't until now that she pulled out the stops and let her pipes fly. You couldn't want a more gutsy dramatic feel than that of 'Una Voce Poco Fa' or 'Je Veux Vivre'

Her interpretation of Puccini's 'Mi Chiamano Mimi' leaves behind any idea that Mimi is just a fragile flirtatious victim longing for the scent of a flower - here she is at risk of dying from the lack of sunlight while the fluttering of her Bambi eyes thinly disguises her desperate need for the poetry and the passion of her neighbour and her longing for the warmth and perfume of a good man in her arms and in her bed.

She is master of atmosphere (as in creation of, and manipulation of) - as we started to see on the Opertunity Winners album in the beautiful 'Song to The Moon' and 'Caro Nome', here in 'Summertime' with a phrasing which wants to be in time and wants to keep moving she sets up the oppressive heat and humidity of it's deep south setting and then sets out the crisp freezing stillness of a winter landscape and a fireplace seen from the wrong side of a frosted window pane in 'In The Bleak Midwinter'.

Certainly she is a flourishing musician.
Listening Pleasure
A. Smith | Mobile, AL, USA | 08/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"You frequently see the words "listening pleasure" used in a cliche' sense, but in regard to this CD, it is not a cliche'. For those who enjoy popular operatic and sacred set pieces, this is quite delightful. Both Gilchrist and Leigh have lovely instruments, but Jane Gilchrist's voice is somewhat fuller in tone and timbre. I have recommended this CD to my family and friends and I also purchased Gilchrist's solo CD, entitled Vocalise, from Her voice is particularly suited to the Gilbert and Sullivan and Gershwin pieces on the recording. Nice to have new talent appear from such an interesting source as the Operatunity project sponsored by ENO."