Pert looks and pushup bra? Check. Throaty, pint-sized voice? Check.
Digital reverb, multi-tracking, and arrangements inspired by televised Olympics coverage? Check. Houston, we are "go" for Calculated Crossover! Not to malign crossover, mind you: though it's as far from the heart of classical music as Pat Boone's In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy was from hard rock, it is a distinct genre with a well-established audience base and a number of smartly branded, very bankable artists. The problem here is that, with her cookie-cutter debut La Diva (must we laud ourselves in Italian?), Katherine Jenkins makes no effort to carve out a niche for herself, instead offering uninspired, formulaic retreads of acts already on the market. If you've heard Charlotte Church, Sarah Brightman, Andrea Bocelli, or Josh Groban, you've already heard this album (at times literally, as witnessed by the opening track "Time to Say Goodbye," made famous by Brightman and Bocelli), and for the most part you've heard it done more memorably. Though she is older than Church by a number of years, Jenkins' voice is no more developed or capable (though it is slightly more polished). She doesn't have the flashy high notes or wispy allure of Sarah Brightman, or any of the legitimate chops that made Andrea Bocelli the only crossover singer to actually cross over. But she has cover girl looks and a pleasant, mike-friendly voice, so she may indeed score a hit.In the obligatory "sung in a foreign language" category, Jenkins offers numbers in passable Italian, Spanish, and French. Her "O sole mio" has been drained of its Italian seasonings and omits the usual climactic high note; her sexless "Séguédilla" (often spelled Seguidilla) from Carmen takes its only moment of personality from an interpolated laugh that was obviously edited in. In the "famous piece of instrumental music turned into a song" category, she offers "En Aranjuez con tu amor," based on Joaquín Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez (for guitar and orchestra). Batting cleanup in the "inspirational" category, both John Williams' "Hymn to the Fallen" (from the film Saving Private Ryan) and Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone" will have you reaching for your snare drum.
Jenkins comes across best in "Calon Lan," sung in her native Welsh: there is a sense of expressive purpose and linguistic fluidity that is sorely missing from much of the rest of the album, and it makes for very pleasant listening. Mozart's mostly unmolested "Laudate Dominum" is similarly enjoyable for its simplicity and faithfulness to its original form.
|Time to Say Goodbye (Con te partirò), song / Francesco Sartori||Katherine Jenkins feat: James Banbury / Czech Film Orchestra And Choir||3:45|
|Caruso, for voice & orchestra / Lucio Dalla||Katherine Jenkins feat: James Banbury / Czech Film Orchestra And Choir||3:52|
|Nabucco, opera (Nabucodonosor)|
|Va Pensiero||Katherine Jenkins feat: Czech Film Orchestra And Choir / Jenny O'Grady / Metro Voices||3:47||Amazon|
|Chi Mai (originally composed for Maddalena, film score) / Ennio Morricone||Katherine Jenkins feat: James Banbury / Czech Film Orchestra And Choir||3:29|
|O sole mio, for voice & piano (or orchestra) / Gaston Capurro / Eduardo DeCapua||Katherine Jenkins feat: Czech Film Orchestra And Choir||3:19|
|En Aranjuez con tu amor, for voice & piano (or guitar) (after the second movement of the Concierto de Aranjuez)||Katherine Jenkins feat: James Banbury / Czech Film Orchestra And Choir||4:08||Amazon|
|Séguédilla (Près des remparts de Séville) / Georges Bizet||Katherine Jenkins feat: Czech Film Orchestra And Choir||2:06|
|Rusalka, opera, B. 203 (Op. 114)|
|Song to the Moon||Katherine Jenkins feat: Czech Film Orchestra And Choir||5:38|
|Calon lân (A pure heart) / John Hughes / Traditional||Katherine Jenkins feat: Czech Film Orchestra And Choir / Dave Rowland||2:27||Amazon|
|Saving Private Ryan, film score|
|Hymn to the Fallen / John Williams||Katherine Jenkins feat: James Banbury / Czech Film Orchestra And Choir / Jenny O'Grady / Metro Voices||4:30||Amazon|
|Vesperae solennes de confessore for soloists, chorus & orchestra, K. 339|
|Laudate Dominum / Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart||Katherine Jenkins feat: Czech Film Orchestra And Choir / Jenny O'Grady / Metro Voices||3:55||Amazon|
|You'll Never Walk Alone, song (from "Carousel") / Oscar Hammerstein II / Richard Rodgers||Katherine Jenkins feat: Czech Film Orchestra And Choir / Jenny O'Grady / Metro Voices||2:16|