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O Fortuna

Rhydian

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Album Review

Just as everyone expected following his shocking defeat, 2007 X-Factor runner-up Rhydian Roberts went on to surpass the success of the show's winner, selling more copies of his self-titled debut album in its first week than fresh-faced crooner Leon Jackson's managed to sell in its entire run. Twelve months on, the flamboyant Welsh tenor faces the tough challenge of consolidating his initial chart success, without the aid of the program's publicity machine, for his second album. Named after its opening track, a rendition of Carl Orff's ubiquitous Gothic classical piece which has been heavily used on The X-Factor, O Fortuna shows Rhydian isn't too keen to distance himself from the talent show which launched him. However, while its karaoke-style predecessor could have been recorded by any classical crossover artist, O Fortuna is a much more original and personal affair which makes more of an effort to highlight his national heritage. In addition to the tasteful orchestral production of Welsh classical heavyweight Karl Jenkins, there's an interpretation of Joseph Parry's 19th century traditional song "Myfanwy" with fellow native and opera star Bryn Terfel, contributions from Welsh harp virtuoso Catrin Finch, and a stirring performance of the Welsh national anthem, "Land of My Fathers." But O Fortuna is more than just an homage to his homeland, as Rhydian also tackles classic hymns ("How Great Thou Art"), film soundtracks (Vangelis' "Conquest of Paradise"), musical theater ("Anthem" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Chess), and pop (Mike + the Mechanics' "The Living Years," John Denver's "Annie's Song"), all in his own powerful and passionate style. But it's the lesser-known tracks that provide the album's most goosebump-inducing moments. "Benedictus" is a stunning rendition of a piece from Karl Jenkins' 2001 The Armed Man, featuring legendary soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, while the rousing "I Won't Let You Walk This Road Alone" is an original composition penned by Grammy Award-winner Walter Afanasieff, which echoes the emotive balladry of Josh Groban. O Fortuna may not be as crowd-pleasing as his debut, but with the bombastic tendencies thankfully reigned in, it's a more subtle and authentic offering which best showcases Rhydian's gifted vocal abilities. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

In it for the long haul

Very shrewd. By verging towards classical territory but still remaining firmly in the cross over genre, Rhydian has ensured that he will be around for some years to come. This is no 'sloppy whack it out for Xmas' bunch of covers but a well thought out, beautifully produced and superbly sung collection of songs. Artists like Katherine Jenkins, Russell Watson, Sarah Brightman et al sell lots consistently year in year out and I reckon The Riddler will be no different. I would still like him to produce a pop-opera/Jim Steinman 'Bat out of hell' record. I think he has the voice and charisma to pull it off. Hopefully Simon Cowell will let him branch out further. That said, this is a great sophomore effort.

Singer!

He is either very brave or very foolish. This is not an album for pop lovers. Rhydian,in my opinion has created an album for music lovers and I have enjoyed what I have heard. Good luck to him its about time we had someone who can sing.

Here to stay

Rhydian is a true singing talent, and this, his second, album underlines what a superb voice he has. This is a classical crossover album and shows off Rhydian's classical singing training superbly, but it also shows off his ability to sing songs from other genres especially musical theatre (Anthem from Chess) and pop ( a beautiful rendition of Annie's Song). His baritone voice has developed even further since he recorded his debut album and tracks such as O Fortuna and Conquest of Paradise showcase the power and range of his voice, while other tracks such as Benedictus show how delicately he can sing when required. I look forward to Rhydian exploring musical theatre and clssic rock in future recordings, but O Fortuna is just fine to be going on with.

Biography

Born: 14 February 1983 in Sennybridge, Wales

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Following in the footsteps of previous X Factor finalists G4, Welshman Rhydian Roberts wowed judges and viewers alike thanks to his ability to sing pop songs in an operatic style. Born in 1983, Rhydian's first passion was for rugby union — he played locally and planned to become a professional for the Swansea RFC Ospreys. But after his mother took him to a Bizet opera, he fell in love with music and decided to change his career path. After taking a gap year to teach in South Africa, he won...
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O Fortuna, Rhydian
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