April 2007

Ryland Angel - Ryland Angel

Manhattan Records 47132
Format: CD
Released: 2006

Musical Performance ***
Recording Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment ***

Lesley Garrett - Music From The Movies
BBC/Kultur D4147
Format: DVD-V
Released: 2004

Musical Performance ***1/2
Recording Quality ***
Picture Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment ***1/2

Michael Bolton - My Secret Passion
Sony & BMG/Kultur D4148
Format: DVD-V
Released: 1998

Musical Performance *
Recording Quality ***
Picture Quality ***
Overall Enjoyment

by John Crossett

Crossover discs are not my cup of tea. I am something of a purist, and I firmly believe that an artist who has talent in one area should work to enhance it. Trying to be all things to all people usually doesn't cut it. It can work -- take Lesley Garrett, for instance. Her jump from opera to show tunes isn't much more than a tiny skip, because those songs are the opera of today. She has shown in her extensive discs on the Silva label that she can handle this material with no technical problems and an energy than is undeniably appealing.

The men here fare less well. Ryland Angel, known as a countertenor on many recordings of Baroque music, emerges as a pop tenor on his CD. It’s OK in a Josh Groban/Sarah Brightman sort of way. But to me, it is like so much contemporary adult jazz -- all fluff and little substance. Still, discs like these are enormously popular and are the current direction of the big music companies.

Then there's the Michael Bolton disc. I hated it. Sure, he can sing a bit, and he shows a certain passion and precision, but it is easy to tell he's not an opera singer -- "secret passion" or not. He just doesn't put his ardor in the right place. You can tell he is reciting these arias, not living them. About the only positive thing I can offer is that this DVD might get some of his pop fans to try the real thing. Maybe.

The picture quality of the two DVDs is good. Not exceptional, but good enough to do justice to the performances, and the sound on all of the discs is OK as well.