Home » Projects » Midnight Affairs » Album

Track Listing:

1
Lloyd-Webber: The Music Of The Night - Phantom of the Opera
2
Caccini: Ave Maria
3
Delibes: Dome Epais le Jasmin - Lakme
4
Tchaikovsky: Have You Ever Heard - Eugene Onegin
5
Bizet: Pres des Remparts de Seville - Carmen
6
Piazzolla: Obvilion
7
Golijov & Bizet: Close Your Eyes
8
Tagliaferri: Passione
9
Ponce: Estrellita
10
Cui: The Statue of The Kings Village
11
Gardel: Por Una Cabeza
12
Morricone: Your Love - Once Upon a Time in the West

Veronica Bell :

Midnight Affairs


Classical vocalist Veronica Bell challenges traditions in her new crossover album Midnight Affairs.

" I know it's crazy to put the Tchaikovsky's aria and Gardel's tango practically next to each other but... I believe that music is a reflection of our souls where everything is mixed together; why should a record be any different?" - Veronica Bell 

Operatically trained, Russian-American soprano Veronica Bell is not afraid of raising a few eyebrows. She proudly wears the title Antichrist of Opera given to her for recording Va Pensiero chorus from Verdi's Nabucco as a solo piece accompanied by ... yes, a metal band. In her new album she takes full advantage of the wide-open field of classical crossover genre. Not only she transforms solo arias into duets and trios and instrumental music into vocal, she also combines separately written pieces into one and re-works orchestrations to fit her vision.  She has a full three-octave range and a big personality, and she is not afraid to use either. Everything she creates exudes passion, and it's contagious and convincing.

One might argue that classical music is already intelligent and sophisticated enough to be left "as is". True! But in this case, changes made to original scores give each piece even more powerful individual standing. The flamenco intro in Bizet's Seguidilla, masterfully improvised by guitarist Corey England, puts us right on the streets of Seville where fiery gypsy Carmen once lived, loved and died. The added voices in the famous Flower duet meander and echo around the original two-part harmony  while transforming the atmosphere into the mystical world of fairytales. The soulful sound of violin in Piazzolla's Oblivion, performed by Dimitry Olevsky, in a duet with voice, creates a breathtaking intensity and profound sadness. In this piece Veronica steps out of the spotlight giving violin the lead and using her own voice to create the supporting harmony. Je Crois Entendre Encore also known as Romance from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers here is combined with a lullaby Close Your Eyes by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov. It starts acapella and later transforms into a heartbreakingly gorgeous melancholic duet. Not to be overlooked is the opening of the album, The Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera. Taken a bit slower than usual, with the first verse sung an octave lower, in the range hardly imaginable for a soprano, it intensifies and expends from measure to measure, getting more and more explosive toward the end when it comes to a final top note that rings fragilely in the air before fading out.

But the final piece of the album, Your Love from the 1968 Eurowestern Once Upon a Time in the West is truly the crown jewel of the album. Typically it is expected to have some up-tempo music conclude the CD selection. Here it is the opposite: the album ends on a soft note offering an alternative refuge – dream-like and poetic.

Other music on the album includes larger than life Passione by an Italian composer Ernesto Tagliaferri, a delicate Russian art song The Statue of Kings' Village, a tragic and profound Ave Maria by (or attributed to) Giulio Caccini, an intimately entrancing Estrellita by Manuel Ponce with violin solo once again beautifully played by Dimitry Olevsky and stylishly interpreted by pianist Shushan Hakobyan, and a rarely performed in it's original vocal version Gardel's tango Por Una Cabeza where the orchestral score is supported with the lush improve by Hollywood's beloved pianist and celebrity accompanist Greg Schreiner.

The album is full of musical conflicts and contrasts that the audience and critics alike might embrace or reject. Nonetheless, performed in best classical tradition with technical and musical excellence, it certainly deserves our close attention. Midnight Affairs by Veronica Bell stands on its own among other examples of classical crossover genre and raises the bar for those that follow.

"Your album made me cry! I found it hard to choose my favorite song.... the new places you traveled to musically, worked to perfection. I was so moved, I had to play it over and over again and didn't want to say goodbye to this musical journey" - Jelsa Palao, singer, Grammy Nominee

"Your album is of exquisite beauty. Your voice awakens pure emotions and transports to spaces of beauty and passion."- Paulino Garcia, Official Sponsor

"Veronica Bell delivers like no other.  She understands us and expands us into the sweet slowing music while the sun sets.  She can be your sunrise, too." – JJ Hollindgworth, Composer, album Music Director