EVOC Me, Baby
So, there I am at the Barnes & Noble in Ventura.
I travel to SoCal nearly every week this time of year, getting my deals lined up for the coming season. I don't care to do so much traveling because I'm a bit of a homebody. I'd rather be home with my wife and kids, even if we're just vegging and watching something horribly inane, like the Andy Milonakis Show (I put baloney in my left pocket...)
Anyway, so I'm wandering my way through the music/DVD section when my ears perk up at the music piped through the store. It sounds familiar, and yet not so. A few moments later I found myself singing along... in Italian. Yet I can hear drums, electric guitars... what's going on here?
I recognize the song. La Donna e Mobile, probably the one opera aria everyone in America would recognize. Yeah, I sang it when I was training as a young tenor, that and several other operatic mainstays. But this was beautiful, an amazing, modern arrangement.
La Donna e Mobile
So I dash up to the clerk (literally) and ask, "Who IS that?" She points to the little "Now Playing" display 17.4 inches from her elbow with kind of a "Duh" look on her face.
East Village Opera Company
Unless you are an uptight traditionalist with no sense of adventure, you must go out now and buy this CD. Gorgeous, so many familiar tunes given a very bold, modern, beautiful twist.
Now I know this sort of fusion has been done before, notably in the Disco era (long may she stay DEAD.) It's been done pretty well at times, such as Walter Murphy's work, notably a Fifth of Beethoven, or even David Shire's Night on Disco Mountain (from Mussorgsky's Night on Bare Mountain) which is a bit on the campy side, but fun nonetheless.
It's also been done poorly. Very poorly. Anybody remember Hooked on Classics? How lazy can you be? "Hey, let's just stick all this classical music to a rigid, uninteresting beat, hammer all expression out of the music, and sell it to millions of uneducated morons who wish they 'got' classical music!" Unfortunately, that probably set the classical fusion genre back twenty years, which may be why we're just hearing from the East Village Opera Company.
These guys bring a fresh, expressive, creative approach to beautiful songs and make new beautiful songs that remind you of the original genius, yet make you feel like you're hearing it for the first time. I really cannot recommend this recording highly enough. You must buy it. Now.
Thank you for your support.