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East Village Opera Company

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Album Review

If you think the Who had the last word in rock opera and that Queen was the end all in operatic pop, the East Village Opera Company — a powerhouse five-piece band with a string quartet and two compelling vocalists — will have you rethinking those precepts. The success of foreign-language-driven pop by Josh Groban and il Divo no doubt made it possible for this unique outfit to adapt some of these opera classics into a 21st century context. The Mozart-composed overture (from "Le Nozze di Figaro") has some of those Who-like synthesizer speckles over an insistent drumbeat before a blistering rock assault begins, which is sort of like paying homage to one of the great sources of the concept. Though the first-time listener who is not an opera fan may not know all the original titles (whose composers include Puccini, Verdi, and Bizet), it's a great introduction to the art form because each track is performed at full length and in the original languages. The best of these are the synth-metal jam "La Donna e Mobile" from Rigoletto, a soulful and symphonic sweep through "Habanera" from Carmen (which should ring a bell), and "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot. The East Village Opera Company was co-founded by lead singer Tyley Ross and arranger/multi-instrumentalist Peter Kiesewalter. They assembled a full-on rock band, adding two guitars, bass, and drums to Kiesewalter's keyboards, then synched it to a string quartet. A second vocalist, Ann Marie Milazzo, was recruited for explosive duets with Ross and various soaring solos. The project was produced by three-time Grammy winner Neil Dorfsman, with string arrangements recorded in Prague by the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra.

Customer Reviews

Opera Meets Theatrical Glam Rock!

I can't get over how good this album is. After listening to The Darkness' "Permission to Land," I was hoping the rebirth of 70's style guitar glam and theatre rock was upon us. To my surprise, no one has been able to even come close to the goodness of that record. Until now. And an Opera record none the less. The East Village Opera Company has put out what might just be the most unique piece of work this year. The accolades are well-deserved and you have to get this into your library now. If Queen recorded classic Opera, THIS WOULD BE WHAT YOU WOULD HEAR. Definately 5 stars. Well done! Star Track: Overture Redux.


I am a life-long opera fan. My long term complaint is that opera, rather than being treated as a wonderful dynamic art form, is instead regarded as a sacred cow that must be presented in the same shop worn way time and time again. Then I come across this album! EVOC has taken what is best about opera and creates a reinterpretation of well know classics that breathes welcome new life into them. Well done!

A Highly Intelligent and Surprisingly Innovatitive Rock Opera Band

As a classical musician I can tend towards being a purist, and have therefore turned up my nose at the popera genre in general; avoiding such singers as Josh Groban, Charlotte Church, Amici, etc. Imagine my surprise when I found myself falling in love with a rock opera band. The East Village Opera Company won me over with their infectious energy, highly tallented orchestrations, incredible instrumental playing, and fabulous singers. From beautiful songs like the flower song to the incredible rendition of Habanera which one could bump and grind to at the club the CD thrills over and over again. The CD also boasts one of the best guitar players I have heard. If you never liked opera you will love this, and if you love opera like I do you may hate it at first but it will win you over.


Genre: Classical

Years Active: '00s

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...
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