Olde School


Good musical guilty pleasures are few and far between these days, but the East Village Opera Company comes to the rescue with its third release, an amalgam of ’70s rock excess and bombast fused with some of the finest operatic melodies.

Check out this lineup: guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, string quartet, male and female vocalist, augmented by the Czech Philharmonic string section and New York orchestral brass and winds, with spot R&B horns.

“The Ride” sets the tone: Zeppelinesque “Black Dog”-style riffage/rhythm alternating with passages of ELO-like ambience and brief segments of faux Floyd space rock, adorned with Wynona Judd-meets-Kelly Clarkson vocals spewing preposterous lyrics vaguely inspired by Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.”

Other highlights include the vaudeville/baroque-styled “Help Me,” with its not-so-incongruous, sparingly used “sounds like Brian May” guitar; a nearly simultaneous simulation of Steely Dan, Chicago and KC and the Sunshine Band on “Brindisi Libera”; the Freddie Mercury tribute “Walk”; and the beautiful, steel-guitar-embellished “As You Were Then.”

Although “Va Tosca” is practically a straight-opera reading, and a few tracks temper Italian vocals with progressive arrangements, “Olde School” is a major departure from previous EVOC albums in its use of newly written English lyrics and even-harder-rocking instrumentation. If the plan was to make opera more palatable for the masses, then it’s a big “mission accomplished!”

1. The Ride (from Richard Wagner’s Die Walküre)
2. King Of The Night (from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s
Die Zauberflöte)
3. Help Me (Jove, in Pity) (from George Frideric Handel’s
4. Brindisi Libera (Pop The Cork) (from Giuseppe Verdi’s
La Traviata)
5. Gloria (from Giovanni Bononcini’s
6. Walk (from George Frideric Handel’s
7. As You Were Then (from Vincenzo Bellini’s
8. Soldiers (from Charles Gounod’s
9. You’re Not Alone (from J.S. Bach’s Cantata BWV 208
Was Mir Behagt, Ist Nur Die Muntre
10. Va Tosca (from Giacomo Puccini’s
11. Butterfly Duet (from Giacomo Puccini’s
Madama Butterfly)

Total time: 57:55

External links
artist’s website
iTunes Store