From the USA and Sweden via Switzerland to a treasure trove of opera gems.
American opera soprano Maria Romo is married to Olle Romo, the Swedish rock collaborator with Lady Gaga, Nickelback and The Corrs, and together they have created Tesori, a debut record of ancient arias for modern audiences. The Romos have lived in Switzerland for some years, where Olle works with multi-platinum selling producer Mutt Lange (Shania Twain, AC/DC, Maroon 5, Bryan Adams), but Maria has never forgotten her training as a classical singer.
In 2011 Maria and Olle decided to add another dimension to their family life and fully commit to Maria’s other passion – Baroque music, with its haunting beauty and timeless ability to touch the heart. Many of these ancient masterpieces had ended up on dusty shelves and fallen into obscurity. Rediscovered and now recorded, these gems continue to shine with a brilliance untarnished by time. Maria’s beautiful tones were recorded by husband Olle, a world-class producer and engineer, in their own studio. Though Maria’s forte is the interpretation of ancient music, and Olle works mostly with contemporary music, they had always dreamed of collaborating on a project, and Tesori is the result.
Recording gigs for classical singers have traditionally been reserved for opera's elite, but in the ever-changing landscape of the music industry, even those contracts are few and far between. Rock and pop artists have responded ingeniously with the rise of countless independent labels and home studio productions. Though the opera world has been slow to follow suit, here is one determined singer who breaks the barriers to share her music with the world.
Maria Romo has taken a brand-new approach to recording. Tesori is designed for today’s listening environments, instead of trying to replicate the feel and sound of a live theatrical performance of the 18th century. “That is not how today's audiences listen to records. We play music in the kitchen, in the car, on our iPads… Why shouldn't we?" If it means hiring a period orchestra and a renowned conductor, strict adherence to authenticism could spell the demise of recorded opera. Who can afford it? Tesori uses a blend of live musicians and programmed instruments, emphasizing tasteful and skillful arrangements, and resulting in beautiful and classical recordings made independently. "Today's classical recording artists face a new reality, which means we need to be creative and work hard. This is absolutely commonplace among rock and pop artists. Why can't it work for classical artists as well?"
Maria’s thoroughly modern approach also extends to the dissemination of her message – not only does she have a stylish website, crammed with information and visuals, but she has shot a promotional video, and edits a Blog, Operascope, dedicated to the world of opera. Her website is now expanding to include a Q&A page for opera professionals, amateurs and enthusiasts.
Read ‘Operascope’ now at: http://www.mariaromo.net/operascope/
Her video can be seen on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgF-eQ8FrYM
The concept and the inspiration for Tesori are the cumulation of the talents and experience of three dedicated musicians. The vocals and several musicians were recorded in Switzerland, while the orchestral accompaniments were arranged and recorded in New York by Maria's long time friend and classical composer Max Surla. Max holds a Master's Degree in Composition from Manhattan School of Music, and has written music for many instrumental ensembles, as well as all of the major network and cable television stations. Tracks flew electronically across the Atlantic for a year, a labor of love for Surla and the Romos.
Maria has clocked many hours on stages across the US and Europe, first as a singer in musical theater, and later in operas, recitals and concerts. Her training includes a Bachelor's Degree in Fine Arts and a Gold Medal in classical singing from the National Music Conservatory of France in Antibes. Tesori marks Maria's triumphal statement of devotion to her art.
Tesori is released on Spokes Records, owned by John Hughes. A musician and artist himself, Hughes is best known as manager of The Corrs, one of the world’s most successful all time pop acts.
The fourteen–track album, available now on CD at Amazon (US) and digital format on iTunes worldwide, includes ‘Lasciatemi morire,’ the only surviving remnant of the opera Arianna, written by Claudio Monteverdi in 1608, and recognized as opera’s first hit, and ‘L’amero saro costante’ from Mozart’s rarely staged Il re pastore. Another highlight is Francesco Cavalli’s 1649 ‘Delizie Contente’ from Giasone, the most popular opera of the 17th century. After their initial success, the arias on Tesori fell out of favor as opera evolved and tastes changed. Many of these pieces would have been lost forever if not for the detective work of Alessandro Parisotti, who unearthed, rearranged and published them in the 19th century. The enduring appeal of these melodies spans centuries, linking us to our ancestors, and to the ancient masters themselves.
Real people, substantial music, classy recording, hauntingly beautiful soprano. Tesori is a perfect addition to any music lover's collection.