A romance between story and stunning sound, Jonathan Cilia Faro’s forthcoming album‘From Now On’ offers a collection of elating tracks that consume the listener with true cinematic intensity. With some of the songs previously pitched to the likes of Bocelli and Josh Groban, the comparison of Jonathan to the operatic greats is easily understood after listening to his music.
Taking on careers as a minister, soldier, freemason, busker and restaurateur, Jonathan’s life is an extraordinary account of talent, persistence and bravery – qualities that were most tried during his battle with cancer at the age of 25. Causing him to not only lose his voice, but to lose his passion for music as well, Jonathan’s bout of cancer saw him struggle both mentally and physically as life and death hung in the balance.
Now recovered, Jonathan has returned to what he loves most – music. With his latest project ‘From Now On’, Jonathan provides an album that offers escapism and hope in life’s darkest moments. Dividing his time between London and America as an entertainer, Jonathan combines opera with his own comedic performances and tales of his remarkable life. Having already started to make his mark by performing for the likes of The Pope and Jay Leno, Jonathan is set to broaden the limits of what can be achieved through opera with his album release on April 26th.
Topical themes are often a good source of inspiration due to the immediate emotional connection you establish with your audience. For Neo-Classical composer Toni Castells, it was the work set out by former MP Jo Cox’s Commission of Loneliness (which divulged that more than 9 million people are affected by loneliness in the UK alone) that has inspired his latest release ‘HHUMANN X‘.
While initial innovation came largely from his teachers at music school, Castells’ overall sound was developed from a foundation of classical training combined with an inventive use of modern technology to produce a mixture of dreamy, cinematic and poetic soundscapes.
His music has since been described as “Morricone meets Satie” by Michael Haas, producer of prize-winning recordings with major classical artists including Zubin Mehta, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Cecilia Bartoli and Luciano Pavarotti.
With this album’s themes centred around the subject of a paradox that highlights a growing social isolation in times of technological hyper-connectedness, the premier performance at LSO St Luke’s in Barbican (20th October) is also set to feature More Than Just a Choir – a community choir based in North London that works with people suffering from mental illness and social isolation.
The choir will appear towards the end of the piece and they’ll be unknowingly sitting amongst the audience before their entry. This staging metaphor is designed to strengthen the idea that isolation and mental illness are invisible to most of us.
With the return of Classic Brits after a five-year hiatus, and Katherine Jenkins’ re-singing to Decca, the future of classical music has never looked brighter.
Naturally, the revival of classical music is ushering in a spate of new, boundary-pushing artists. We’ve narrowed down the list of ones to watch to these three newcomers, each of which bring something completely different and refreshing to the table. Let us introduce you to the new generation of crossover artists…
Uno Prism – Nu-Jazz Electronica
Though the vibraphone or ‘vibes’ has been around since Louis Armstrong’s era (circa 1930), it’s an instrument that’s slipped in and out of popular culture. But this seems set to change once again with the introduction of Uno Prism aka Emma Welsby, whose slick nu-jazz inflected electronica combines a vibes expertise with bone-rattling bass rhythms, sweeping cinematic strings, gossamer-like vocals and electronic thrums. Though her weapon of choice may seem obscure to many, her sound will resonate with fans of Bonobo, Cinematic Orchestra and Boards of Canada.
Despite being likened to the more commercially-appealing experimentalists, Emma boasts a classical background in percussion. In her former years she racked up accolades such as BBC Young Musician of the Year quarter finalist and BBC Fame Academy finalist, before going on to play drums at festivals around Europe for Harley Davidson motorbikes and contributing to a number one hit album. Having garnered a reputation as an in-demand percussionist, Emma is now utilizing her talents in a songwriting capacity. Stayed tuned for more music.
Jane Maria – Opera
Jane Maria is not your average opera singer. Born in China, the singer has overcome countless hurdles in order to be recognised around the world, and yet she has succeeded at every stage.
Combining opera, traditional Chinese folk song and contemporary pop and RnB on her forthcoming album, the lead track, ‘Casta Diva’ (from Bellini’s opera, Norma), sees Jane interpreting the aria with impeccable style, showcasing her spine-tingling soprano voice.
Now, Jane Maria is on a mission to become one of the first Chinese artists to grace the UK charts. With her superhuman work-ethic and astounding talent, it seems like there’s no time like the present to conquer the UK market. Stay tuned for the singer’s first release.
Lady Geraldine – Musical Theatre
Often, the most captivating storytellers have survived the greatest tragedies. This couldn’t ring more true of Lady Geraldine,an artist who has triumphed over a lifetime of heartbreak in order to deliver most recent masterpiece ‘Little Miss Blue‘. The Scottish singer spent her former years profoundly deaf until an operation in her early twenties partially recovered her hearing. Gaining just a part of this sense ignited her love of music in a way no-one who has always been able to hear could possibly imagine.
But for every triumph, a tragedy followed. Geraldine suffered through an abusive and violent marriage before the clouds parted once again and she found solace in two successful businesses, which then led her to a legendary producer and songwriter. The pair got chatting and it became clear that there was a natural affinity and his background with the likes of Wet, Wet, Wet through to Big Country, touched an emotional chord with her. Together, they went on to pen the songs that would make up ‘Little Miss Blue’, an embodiment of Geraldine’s stoicism and an ode to female empowerment.
Keep up with the latest from the classical crossover world with New Frequencies playlist: