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Beyond Imagination

Opera Babes Audio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Performer: Opera Babes
  • Audio CD (January 14, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00007MB2F
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,396 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. One Fine Day (Un Bel Di From Madame Butterfly)
2. Sempre Ricordo (Piano Concerto in A minor)
3. There's A Place (From The New World Symphony)
4. Beyond Imagination (From A Midsummer Nights Dream)
5. O Fortuna (From Carmina Burana)
6. Lakmé H2O (Flower Duet)
7. Ebben?..Ne Andro Lontano (from La Wally)
8. You Live On In My Heart (Cinema Paradiso)
9. Chanson Bohème (From Carmen)
10. Remember Me
11. Stranger In Paradise (From Kismet)
12. Ode II Joy (From Symphony No. 9)
13. 1001 Nights (From The Nutcracker Suite)
14. Barcarolle (From The Tales Of Hoffman)
15. Lakmé (VibeTribe Mix)
16. Ave Maria
17. Vittoria! (Aida 2002)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Plucked from a wet afternoon of busking Bizet and Puccini to passersby on the Piazza in Covent Garden in the spring of 2001, soprano Rebecca Knight and mezzo Karen England soon found themselves singing in slightly larger venues: the FA Cup and Champions League soccer finals. That the management company doing the plucking had recently performed a similar Cinderella crossover act for Russell Watson offered portent, and indeed the Babes--the moniker began as a joke--were soon on their way to this recording debut. The marketing shtick and its soccer connections may offend purists, but it's the football hooligans that the Babes are trying to win over here; can Borodin soothe the savage Manchester United fan? Their classically trained voices mesh gloriously, with England's warm mezzo showing particular character in her solo turns.

The repertoire choices here cover material that may already be familiar to fans of Charlotte Church (i.e., Delibes "Flower Duet") and other crossover acts, but they do include some pleasant surprises, like Offenbach's Barcarolle from The Tales of Hoffmann and "You Live On in My Heart," a reworking of Ennio Morricone's enchanting Cinema Paradiso theme with lyrics by Knight. But in a rush toward the musical middle of the road, it's the productions themselves that sometimes overwhelm the Babes with bathos ("Ave Maria"), hollow thunder ("Aida 2002"), and electro club kitsch (the 'Vibe Tribe' mix of "Flower Duet"). Former Art of Noise mainstay Anne Dudley's tastefully restrained coloring of Tchaikovsky's "1001 Nights" is one of the notable exceptions. They're babes, they sing opera--with fair promise--for the masses, and if they turn one in a hundred from football hooliganism to a well-mannered appreciation of Grieg and Dvorák, won't it all have been worth it? --Jerry McCulley

Product Description

Opera Babes ~ Beyond Imagination

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fresh, Solid & Intelligent August 7, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Mezzo Karen England and Soprano Rebecca Knight's debut, supported by perceptive and idiomatic accompaniment, is a solid and impressive recording. The instrumentalists play with great boldness and precision and present the classic works as vibrant music to be taken seriously, not just period pieces.
These compositions pose a range of challenges to the singers. England and Knight respond to the arrangements' disarming freshness and originality with a ready and penetrating intelligence. While they muster ample virtuosic agility of lyric warmth as required, it is their dramatic sense that is most compelling. Knight flings herself passionately into the emotional torrents of "Chanson Boheme," while she delivers her own lyrics in the charming "Ode II Joy" from Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with a confident fervor. England sings with pure, attractive tone; her voice has maturity, depth and flexibility, and her diction is impeccable.
All of these songs are of interest in giving us another aspect of each composer's work. Many are achingly lovely -- Catalani's "Ebben?..." and the stirring Cohen/Lew arrangement of "Un bel di," are worth the price of this CD alone. This recital provides abundant evidence that opera (and its babes) has much to offer modern audiences. David R. Bannon, Ph.D.; author "Race Against Evil."
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Imagination is Beyond Words January 18, 2003
By Ogopogo
Format:Audio CD
WOW!!! These Babes have produced one absolutely gorgeous album. There won't be superlatives enough to justify an adequate description. If you love opera and pop music you won't be disappointed!
The Opera Babes are Karen England (mezzo soprano) and Rebecca Knight (soprano). Together their voices produce one exquisite sound. They have taken several great classics and combined them with pop music for a sound you won't soon forget. Ms. Knight also provided the beautiful lyrics for 'There's a Place', based on Dvorak's 9th symphony, and 'Ode II Joy', based on you know who. I'm confident that both Dvorak and Beethoven would approve. I also must note that the arrangements are equally as gorgeous. THIS IS ONE AMAZING RECORDING!! And at the new artist debut price, this disc is a steal!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eloquently Enchanting January 21, 2003
Format:Audio CD
How can something this eloquently beautiful still be brimming over with pure fun? Please know that I am NOT a musician or schooled in music, but I do know what I like - and am absolutely ENCHANTED. 17 tracks - all LOVELY - include Vittoria from Aida, Stranger in Paradise, Ave Maria and Ode II Joy and the Flower Duet. Cheers to the Opera Babes and their angelic voices and their non-traditional take on this breaktaking music.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Classical Crossover CD... July 23, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Not typically a fan of classical/crossover music (why listen to charlotte church when you can hear Renee Fleming?), I took a giant leap in buying this CD. I wasn't disappointed one bit! Opera Babes is a powerful CD that will add drama to any day. I especially appreciate the mezzo soprano voice - finally an opera CD I can sing along to! I always take it with me to vocal competitions; somehow this music instills peace and confidence. And although my voice instructor doesn't approve of the arrangements, even she must agree that the vocals have quality. Buy this CD and keep an open mind - you won't be disappointed!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Angelic voices to soothe the soul February 16, 2006
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
For all the glorious music out there, this CD has really made an impression on me. These two gifted ladies are accomplished opera singers who have the talent and savy to appeal to the younger generation that might shy away from classic opera as we knew it 50 years (or longer) ago. The refreshing addition of upbeat background brings this genre of music right into the new Millenium. Silky renditions and lofty scales make for an unforgettable listening experience. I give this duo 5 stars and hope to hear more from them in the near future. Classic music will forever be listened to and new voices and renditions should keep it eternally fresh and immensely enjoyable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Opera with a twist... November 20, 2003
Format:Audio CD
Lately I have found myself wholly addicted to classical crossover, with a slew of talented artists to choose from: Izzy, Summer, Mario Frangoulis, Josh Groban, and Sarah Brightman, to name a few. I first heard of the Opera Babes when I was browsing at a record store and bought their CD because it contained some of my favourite arias: Un Bel Di from Madame Butterfly, the Flower Duet from Lakmé, and Ebben from La Wally, and although I had some initial reservations, I was not disappointed.
Classically trained soprano Rebecca Knight and mezzo soprano Karen England began their OperaBabes career by busking opera to passerby in Covent Garden in 2001. Discovered by the management of crossover phenom Russell Watson, the Babes soon found themselves singing at football finals and basking in stardom.
"Beyond Imagination" blends classical with world, dance, and new age, most times with excellent and imaginative results. I have to give the CD an A for effort and creativity. Instrumentals such as the Arabian Dance from the Nutcracker ballet and Largo from Dvorak's New World Symphony shine as duets, as does You Live On In My Heart's treatment of Morricone's Cinema Paradiso theme. One Fine Day is opened with a gorgeous Eastern-inspired blend of gong, bamboo flute, and wood blocks. "O Fortuna's" foreboding Latin lyrics and ominous choir seem strangely muted by comparison until the final third of the song, but erupts in a passionate finale. The Flower Duet is a soothing blend of new age: raindrop like percussion and flowing harp underscore the melody. Ode II Joy, taken from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, is a study in less is more: with utter simplicity (a simple string backing), the song is uplifting without being overpowering.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautiful music - these two gals can really sing.
Published 5 days ago by Michael Induni
5.0 out of 5 stars Thumbs Up!
When I play this CD in my car, passengers become intrigued even if not classical or opera fans. Just as one song is my favorite, others become fans of the Water Music from Lakme. Read more
Published 29 days ago by Speakerguru
5.0 out of 5 stars Opera Babes Beyond Imagination
A superb collection of opera and classical crossover songs. A beautiful blend of 2 outstanding voices. For those who like classical duets this is a must buy.
Published 7 months ago by Mr. R. Anthony
1.0 out of 5 stars Amazing CD
This CD was purchased by us a few years ago and we love it. A friend heard it & also loved it. We purchased this for her for Christmas.
Published 7 months ago by Lynn Fox
4.0 out of 5 stars 'One Fine Day' - the Official ITY World Cup 2002 Theme
New voices for a new generation! This album seems to be another, in a long line of well intended attempts to update/modernize classical music, and to try to get a younger... Read more
Published 8 months ago by naeler
5.0 out of 5 stars Old music with a new flavor
This is the second purchase of this CD - a gift for a graduate student in music school.
I have been a fan of opera since a child and this new treatment is great.
Published 19 months ago by James C. Mc Laughlin
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought for one song
I bought this for one song "Lakme Flower Duet" but was surprised at how much I enjoyed the whole CD. Arrived in a timely and efficient manner.
Published 20 months ago by Susan Stricklin
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Stunning
These women, who found fame while busking to raise money for voice lessons, are true artists. Most of the songs they sing on this album are meant for a soloist, but the way they... Read more
Published on January 23, 2009 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Seductive
"Opera Babes" gives you a nice visual image of at least two attractive women with some association with opera. Read more
Published on November 30, 2008 by Lawrence Charters
5.0 out of 5 stars ANGELS
PEFECTLY BALANCED VOICES WITH GREAT HARMONY.
WISH THEY WOULD DO MORE OPERA. (LOTS OF OPORTUNITIES FOR DUETS)
Published on October 12, 2008 by Allen J. Friedman
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