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That's Amore
28 Sep 2006

That's Amore

Vanity publishing is not for the print world only, as a release from a company called Jeremiah Productions, called "That's Amore," proves.

That's Amore

Beth Donnelly, Douglas Feller

Jeremiah Productions CD

$18.95  Click to buy

A sort of audio calling card for soprano Beth Donnelly and baritone Douglas Feller (both of the Portland, Oregon, area), this handsomely presented set probably does not have wide distribution — there may come a time when the artists offer thanks for that, for the singing on display here does not show either singer off in the most complimentary fashion.

Donnelly, whose bio mentions some Portland Opera appearances, begins the CD with Doretta's song from La Rondine and then leaps into Violetta's Traviata act one showpiece. In both, her basically attractive instrument approaches each aria's challenges with that faint edge of hesitation and calculation which detracts from the accomplishment. As an example, she opts for the high ending to "Sempre libera," but a noticeable pause before the money note relays too much of a sense of gathering her resources, and then the note itself represents more the singer's aspiration than the character's exuberance. Later solos (from Lucia, Don Giovanni, and Don Pasquale) tend to run together, with no particular interpretation in evidence.

As compared to her partner on the CD, baritone Douglas Feller, Ms. Donnelly at least sings with attractive tone. Mr. Feller's unsteady, unsubtle baritone sounds equally unappealing in opera (arias from many of the same operas named above) and in pop pieces, such as the title track.

The album closes with the two duetting on the Bocelli/Brightman hit, "Time to Say Goodbye." An unfortunate choice of words, but entirely fitting for this CD at that point.

A second disc, on DVD, supposedly offers "film and images from Rome, Italy, the inspiration of the music, and from the Pacific Northwest." However, it would not play on your reviewer's equipment.

This being a 2005 release, one hopes that in 2006 both singers have grown and are offering the Pacific Northwest finer vocalizing than is, sadly, heard here.

Chris Mullins

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