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Album Review

If American Josh Groban can make a killing singing Italian opera so convincingly, why not this operatically trained French singer — who has actually been a huge success in Europe while steadily building a name for herself stateside. While Groban is pop-minded, however, Emma Shapplin — like newcomer Laura Turner — seems content to emote powerfully over beds of nature-enhanced ambience and soulful grooves, finding a classical crossover niche with new age crossover potential. With the help of producer Graeme Revell (a noted film scorer and orchestrator for Evanescence), who provides these soaring textures with the London Symphony Orchestra, she blends dramatic solo arias — all original compositions — with passages where she interacts with the Symphony's great choir. And she sticks with Italian, drawing from both that background as well as the power she learned trying heavy metal and R&B before her star took off. The English translations are dramatic and mega-poetic, which enhances the listener's experience, letting the mind wander as Shapplin reaches stunning heights. Although listeners must rely on translated lyrics, words are hardly necessary to appreciate the deep spirituality in Shapplin's artistry. True to the album title, there is an eternal and heavenly ring to it. [This enhanced version of Etterna includes interview videos in English and in French with English subtitles.]


Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s

French soprano, author, composer, and producer Emma Shapplin was born Crystêle Madeleine Joliton in Savigny, France in 1974. She spent her formative years studying classical music, but found herself drawn to rock, resulting in the creation of her own signature style which combines elements of opera, trance, and pop. Her debut album, the multi-platinum-selling Carmine Meo, was released in 1997. Etterna, which was produced by...
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Etterna, Emma Shapplin
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