Amaury Vassili - Vincero

2010-04-13 13:58
While classical pop lovers will be glad that this 20-year old did not decide to become an academic, opera purists might well wish he’d stuck to doing math.

Listening to Paris based 20-year old Amaury Vassili one gets a feeling of de ja vu. Released in Paris last year, this rebellious French teenager’s debut album, Vincerò, reached platinum status. Not at all surprising, because as Il Divo and the 3 Tenors before them have proved, stirring classical crossover pop sells. Add the fact that he’s the youngest recorded tenor in the world, a hunky older Hanson Brother look alike and he hooks up with British diva Katherine Jenkins for a duet and Amaury is pretty much the perfect package for those of us who prefer Il Divo to Pavarotti.

Like most contemporary classical chart attacks, Vincerò contains the usual familiar light classical easy listens such as Edward Elgar’s “March no.1” and Beethoven’s Pathétique Sonata “Fragile”. Amaury delivers both very well vocally, but musically doesn’t try to push any envelopes. Actually, the background music is often so banal that it transports you back to every time your parents dragged you along to listen to the new Richard Clayderman album at the neighbours. The only difference being the name and the photo on the album cover.

At least things get more interesting when Amaury does his own interpretations of a few modern pop classics. Adapting U2’s classic “With or Without You” to the operatic genre, Frenchman Amaury sounds like a Russian struggling to sing in English to music that reminds you of a marching band competition. It’s definitely ‘different’, but not in a good way.

Neither is an Italian version of “Killing me Softly”, made famous by artists such as Roberta Flack and The Fugees, which just sounds weird in an opera voice. Brian May’s Queen classic, “Who wants to live Forever” also manages to find a space among the over crowded covers repertoire. And what would any album be these days without Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah?”

On a positive note though, the Diana Ross and Lionel Richie ballad “Endless Love” is given a blissful makeover thanks to the angelic tones of Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins.
“I did not like school. I did not feel it was something for me. I was not courageous enough to pursue the kind of scholarship that would make me a scientist or a mathematician. Music was really all I cared about and it showed” says Amaury Vassili.

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