the East Village Opera Company | La Donna

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La Donna

by the East Village Opera Company

The pomposity of opera meets the majesty of rock... and vice versa - bold re-interpretations of classic Italian arias.
Genre: Classical: Contemporary
Release Date: 

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1. Vesti La Giubba
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3:56 $0.99
2. Una Furtiva Lagrima
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3:20 $0.99
3. La Danza
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2:27 $0.99
4. M'Appari Tutt' Amor
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3:22 $0.99
5. Maria, Mari
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3:14 $0.99
6. La Paloma
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5:06 $0.99
7. La Donna E Mobile
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4:11 $0.99
8. Panis Angelicus
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3:08 $0.99
9. Questa O Quella
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2:06 $0.99
10. La Serenata
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3:01 $0.99
11. Ave Maria
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5:02 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The East Village Opera Company is an exciting new project founded by singer Tyley Ross and Multi-instrumentalist Peter Kiesewalter. La Donna is an album of Italian opera arias and Neapolitan folk songs in unorthodox musical settings, including unabashed 70's arena rock, sultry bossa nova, four-on-the-floor disco, celtic and bluegrass-tinged ambience- sometimes all in the same song. Ross and Kiesewalter, are joined by over 20 musicians on this disc including guitarist Vernon Reid (Living Colour), banjo master Tony Trishka, Blue Man Group music director Byron Estep, and a string ensemble from the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada.

For more information and to hear their new Decca Records release,
please visit:

www.eastvillageoperacompany.com


Reviews:

Village Voice: December 5th 2004:

Musicians Peter Kiesewalter and Tyley Ross take classic opera tunes and back them with rock instrumentation, resulting in a giddy evening resembling a long version of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". They don't call 'em rock operas for nothing.

Opera makes its way downtown
Trendcentral.com
July 14th

Opera has been trying to be cool for the past few years. In 2001, we saw Charlotte and Carrie, in an episode of Sex and the City, attend the Metropolitan Opera decked out in satin gowns and opera glasses. That same year MTV aired the less traditional Carmen: A Hip-Hopera, starring Beyonce Knowles and Mos Def.

Currently, the East Village Opera Company may just have what it takes to bring opera to the masses. The 11-piece rock band plays traditional opera pieces, such as 'La Danza' and 'Vesta La Giubba', and then breaks into either a funky disco beat or heavy metal guitars. We¹ve heard it described as 'Trans-Siberian Orchestra meets Baz Luhrmann meets De La Guarda'. With theatrical, ironic rock bands such as The Darkness being a hit with trendsetters, we think the East Village Opera Company may attract a crowd looking for a dose of culture with their downtown cool.


Aria experienced
The East Village Opera Company electrifies the classics
for a new generation

Time Out New York
July 2004
By Steve Smith

My folks would drag me to operas as a kid," Peter Kiesewalter explains of his earliest encounters with the exalted artform. An Ottawa, Canada-born multi-instrumentalist, Kiesewalter even made the pilgrimage to Bayreuth, Wagner'' fabled German bastion of musical mythmaking, for a performance of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg.

"Mind you, I was six - and I fell asleep!" Kiesewalter recalls with a laugh. "The benches were hard, and (the opera) was long." Still, the seating wasn't the only thing that left a mark on the young Kiesewalter: "Especially with some of the Mozart operas, the arias really stuck in my head."

Nowadays, Kiesewalter, 37, is creating his own impression with the East Village Opera Company, an ensemble he cofounded in 2001 with vocalist and fellow Canadian Tyley Ross. In a city with no shortage of fine operatic institutions, Kiesewalter and Ross stand apart from the crowd: Their "company" is in actuality a rock band augmented with a string section, its repertoire a mix of arias and songs performed with pop-music amplification and theatrical flair. And while the company lacks a house of its own, it has established a local base at tony downtown nightclub Joe'' Pub, where its performance on Wednesday 30 will be the third since its New York debut here in March.

Given their eclectic tastes and solid training, Kiesewalter and Ross's groundbreaking project seems almost predestined. "My formative musical years were the 80's, which, reflecting back, was the worst decade for popular music," Kiesewalter says, laughing. At the University of Ottawa, he immersed himself in the classical clarinet repertoire, paying the bills by playing keyboards in local groups that included a swing band and an Afro-Celtic ensemble.

Meanwhile, Ross applied his own classical training to a burgeoning career in musical theater, starring in a Canadian production of Tommy before moving on to Miss Saigon on Broadway. While both Kiesewalter and Ross established themselves as recording artists in Canada, their paths had yet to intersect.

During a 1996 run of shows with Canadian songstress Jane Siberry at the now defunct Bottom Line, Kiesewalter was offered the reins of The Downtown Messiah, New York's seasonal presentation that recasts Handel's oratorio as a setting for pop-music performers. Relocating to the city the following year, Kiesewalter found employment as a composer at ABC-TV, for which he would craft hundreds of cues in every imaginable style in his tiny home studio. In 2001, he was approached by director Derek Diorio to create contemporary settings of traditional arias on The Kiss of Debt, a film that featured Ross as an aspiring opera singer.

Striking a common chord immediately, Kiesewalter and Ross soon envisioned a life beyond the film for their collaboration. Supported by a band that included some of New York's top soloists (including rock guitarist Vernon Reid and bluegrass banjoist Tony Trishka), the pair completed 11 tracks for the East Village Opera Company's debut CD, La Donna, which was released earlier this year. The disc treats arias and songs such as "Vesti la giubba," "La Donna e mobile," and "Ave Maria" with disco beats, blazing guitars and defiantly cheesy '80's-style synthesizer flourishes.

Unapologetically grandiose, the East Village Opera Company flies where countless other classical-crossover efforts have plummeted because Kiesewalter, Ross and their bandmates approach their pop-music leanings with the same respect and experience that they apply to their classical source material. Their success hasn't gone unnoticed by recording-industry representatives, who have hovered at each performance.

As yet, Kiesewalter and Ross have only been able to pursue their project as time allows; still, the duo continues to foster more elaborate designs. New vocalist Anne Marie Milazzo will make her debut on Wednesday, vastly expanding the group's repertoire. Kiesewalter imagines the company sharing bills with more flamboyant rock bands, while also teaming up with orchestras for pops concerts - which it plans to do later this year in Canada. "That's something that excites me," Kiesewalter says, "to walk out with charts for an orchestra, rehearse once or twice and blow the roof off the opera house."




Reviews:
Opera makes its way downtown
Trendcentral.com
July 14th

Opera has been trying to be cool for the past few years. In 2001, we saw Charlotte and Carrie, in an episode of Sex and the City, attend the Metropolitan Opera decked out in satin gowns and opera glasses. That same year MTV aired the less traditional Carmen: A Hip-Hopera, starring Beyonce Knowles and Mos Def.

Currently, the East Village Opera Company may just have what it takes to bring opera to the masses. The 11-piece rock band plays traditional opera pieces, such as 'La Danza' and 'Vesta La Giubba', and then breaks into either a funky disco beat or heavy metal guitars. We¹ve heard it described as 'Trans-Siberian Orchestra meets Baz Luhrmann meets De La Guarda'. With theatrical, ironic rock bands such as The Darkness being a hit with trendsetters, we think the East Village Opera Company may attract a crowd looking for a dose of culture with their downtown cool.


Time Out New York- March 4-11
Live review

A recent live performance in (Joe's Pub) confirmed what debut album La Donna promised: the East Village Opera Company's Tyley Ross and Peter Kiesewalter understand that the key to successfully dressing opera arias in rock & roll regalia is to respect the music's emotional core. When "Vesti la giubba" broke into a giddy disco beat, onlookers leapt up and danced; likewise, Rossini's jaunty "La danza" prodded by heavy-metal guitars, threatened to become a spontaneous singalong. Still, there's no mistaking the Broadway-bred Ross's genuine love and affection for his material. Live, the group's charisma is inescapable and infectious. Bring ear plugs, but see
the band now while you can still get close.

The Ottawa Citizen -February 28 2004
La Donna -3 and a half stars

The East Village Opera Company is a musical project that was conceived in
New York by two musicians from Ottawa: Peter Kiesewalter, best known as the force behind such Ottawa bands as the Angstones, Fat Man Waving and Six Mile Bridge; and Tyley ross, a graduate of Canterbury High and Canada's original Tommy (he played the lead in the Toronto run of Pete Townshend's musical). Even for those not overly familiar with opera arias, there are plenty of rewards, they include the fluid intimacy of Ross' singing and the diversity
of Kiesewalter's arrangements, particularly on the title track and an incredible version of Ave Maria.
As the classical strings (courtesy of NACO players) give way to bombastic
rock, it will remind you of Queen or Metallica, until something happens to
divert the songs into bluegrass, Celtic or even disco territory. The sense
of rock theatrics gives it an edge that's not too serious, and guests like
Living Color guitarist Vernon Reid and banjo virtuoso Tony Trishka deliver
inspired performances.

The New Yorker
February 16th 2004

The retro obsessed local music scene has given short shrift to the prog-rock of the seventies. No more, now that the East Village Opera Company is open for business. This international outfit goes straight to the source, with rock, disco, and otherwise amplified interpretations of Verdi, Rossini, and so forth.


Time out New York
Steve Smith- February 19th 2004

The East Village Opera Company, an 11-piece rock band, remains truer to opera's flamboyant spirit by taking far greater liberties with its sacred texts. Broadway-bred vocalist Tyley Ross lends his plaintive tenor and ardent falsetto to familiar selections radically reshaped by Peter Kiesewalter. "Vesti la giubba" breaks into a disco beat punctuated with Tuvan throat-singing samples; "Una furtive lagrima" is all Latinate sway and breathy sighs; and metallic guitar vies with Celtic flute in "La danza." Ironically, however campy their arrangements, Kieseswalter and Ross strike far closer to the heart of their material than does Amici Forever's cloying confectionery.


X-Press Magazine
Steve Baylin -February 19th 2004

**** Four stars!
"The pomposity of opera lends itself well to the majesty of rock," reckons Peter Kiesewalter, one half of the East Village Opera Company. "Or is it the other way around?" Kiesewalter and vocalist Tyley Ross throw caution to the wind on La Donna, a collection of rearranged opera classics polished to modern day perfection. Ave Maria with staccato jabs of crunching distortion? A sparkling rustic banjo coursing through Panis Angelicus? The sweaty dance beat of Vesti la giubba? Purists may cringe, but the inspired Kiesewalter and Ross (alongside supporting musicians including John Geggie, Tony Trishka, Fred Guignon and Vernon Reid to name a few) display such affection for the material that it's hard not to enjoy the ride. Everything Queen's Night at the Opera should have been.


The Ottawa Citizen
Lynn Saxberg- Live review February 24th 2004
The East Village Opera Company at the National Arts Centre

While mop-top superstar Josh Groban was channelling the operatic power of his voice into a concert of pseudo-classical pop songs in the National Arts Centre's Southam Hall on Sunday, a couple of artsy types from Ottawa were on another stage in the same building having their way with some authentic opera arias.

"If you're here for the Josh Groban concert, you're in the wrong place," joked singer Tyley Ross near the start of the East Village Opera Company's first public performance. "Josh is down the hall."

The creative team behind the East Village Opera Company was joined by a full band and a couple hundred muscially open-minded souls to celebrate their new disc, La Donna. It was an exhilarating evening as Handel got a groove, Verdi got a drum jam, Leoncavallo got a disco beat and some other composer got an Eminem-style rap. OK, not all of it worked, but it was bold, adventurous and loads of fun.


Reviews


to write a review

Louise

This is incredible music!
I have never been an opera fan, but this music is amazing. The musicians are fantastic and Tyley sings like an angel. This is infectious music of top quality. I can hardly wait for their next CD.

Betsy

Unbelievably fantastic!
The CD has clarity so that all the artists are heard and the voice quality is true. I crank up the volume in my car to share the experience!

Dr. Robert R. Smale

Tyley and Opera a Hit
It was great to see Tyley and the band perform these pieces
live a few weeks back in concert here in Toronto. The show was amazing!
I had to buy the CD and found it equally inspiring. So great to see
this amazing Canadian talent getting the dues he deserves. That rocked up version
of Vesti la Giubba was powerful and the Ava Maria moving. Can't wait for future CDs from the band
and to see them perform live again. Bravo Tyley and Pete.

Jennifer

Excellent background to the POWER of the 2nd CD
I purchased this CD after the second EVOC was released in 2005. I LOVE the second CD, which highlights the versatility, skill and inventiveness of the musicians, and the addition of the female vocalist, AnnMarie, opens a new dimension. A second lead singer supplementing Tyley allows the group to expand repetoire and create a delicious tension and dynamic that absolutely explodes the band's power. "La Donna" presents strong material that stands on its own, and lets us explore how these wonderfully talented musicians continue to evolve. I hope they record more!

Carol Hindley

A needed shot in arm for great opera arias
I thank GOD the morning I happened to turn on CBC Radio One and heard tracks from EVOC's debut CD. It was like someone had opened a window and breathed new life into these diverse operatic gems. If you felt that Freddie Mercury was on to something, then you owe it to yourself to hear how these highly talented 21st century musicians have now set the stage for a wholly new and easily accessible genre. Bravo!

Burt

East Village Opera Company
Visited their concert in Amsterdam, great great performance. Bought the latest CD and enyoing it.
Please come back again.

Jane

EVOC
Bought BOTH albums after hearing them on the CBC...I'm going to have to buy more, 'cause I'm wearing out the ones I have....it's the perfect response to all the overly loud hip-hop down here. And I LOVE CD-BABY!!! You're "thank you letter" is posted over my desk at work....beautiful, brought tears to my eyes....:::sniff::...you LIKE me, you really LIKE me...

Quinn

Bravo...just what the music world needs!!!
Beautifully composed and sung!! A wonderful energy comes out of this cd and the sounds are breathtaking. A merge of so many wonderful sounds and types of music, everyone should listen to this cd with the volume way up!!! No matter what your age or musical taste, you will sure enjoy The East Village Opera Company.....Bravo!!!!

Jenni


I love the CD and the group! Can't wait for another release! I loved the email sent about CD was packed and shipped. Great experience with CDBaby

rosemarie

east village opera company
i saw the group at the LIED CENTER, LAWRENCE, KANSAS. I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE MUSIC,SO BEAUTIFUL I WAS SO TOUCHED AND MOVED. PLEASE COME
BACK SOON. I HAD TO GET BOTH ALBUMS, MY FAVORITE
IS NESSUM DORMA, ALL THE ARTISTS ROCK!!!!
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