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East Village Opera Company

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While there's plenty of "rock meets classical" from which to choose -- Elvis Costello's ambitious project with the Brodsky Quartet, the smooth teen-classical-pop of Il Divo, and the gigantic bombast of Trans-Siberian Orchestra to name just a few -- the East Village Opera Company are most influenced by Malcolm McLaren's sumptuous 1984 album Fans, which put a new stylish spin on opera. Singer Tyley Ross and arranger/multi-instrumentalist Peter Kiesewalter set out to do the same when they formed their ensemble. It was Kiesewalter who thought they should combine "the pomposity of rock and the pomposity of opera," but with pure love for both genres, the end result was not to be kitsch or camp, although it could be fun. A five-piece rock band was put together, and then a string quartet was added. With second vocalist Ann Marie Milazzo rounding out the lineup, the ensemble began working on its live show along with recording demos. La Donna, the group’s debut album, appeared on the independent Canal label in January 2004, initially with a run of only 1,000 copies. Decca then signed the group and released its self-titled second album in September 2005. After recording in ten different studios across the world and inviting 65 guest musicians to participate, the band finished its Olde School album, which saw release in August 2008. ~ David Jeffries

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