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Caamora - She CD (album) cover

SHE

Caamora

Neo-Prog


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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Brave

Having heard the album first, the DVD now serves to make clear Clive Nolan's vision for this elaborate project. "She" is not simply another concept album, it is a fully fledged rock opera. This performance, recorded in Katosice, Poland in October 2007, has all the makings of a west end musical along the lines of "Jesus Christ, Superstar" or "Evita".

The band take the form of a mini-orchestra, seated on either side of the stage and reading from full scores. It is though essentially a rock line up with additional oboe, horn and cello. In addition, we have an 11 piece choir, who take on the role as extras in the performance. Centre stage is dominated by the four lead singers, Clive Nolan, Agnieszka Swita, Alan Reed (ex Pallas) and Christina Booth (Magenta). Given that at least three of these (I am not sure about Booth) are not experienced actors, One has to admire their bravery in taking on roles which require them to sing and act throughout the performance. It has to be said that they rise to the challenge with surprising confidence. Clive's casting in one of the lead roles means that he does not play (keyboards) at all during the performance. It is worth making clear here that the CD and DVD versions therefore contain different renditions of "She", one being a studio recording, the other a live show.

Swita delivers the title role ("She, who must be obeyed") in a way which belies her lack of experience as either a singer or a stage performer. He voice is distinguished and powerful, holding up superbly during the 2+ hours of the concert.

The music and lyrics are composed by Nolan throughout. He turns his hand to what is for him an alien environment with apparent ease, the aforementioned comparison with Lloyd-Webber/Rice projects being a fair reflection of the quality of the final product. While the music here is not prog in the way of Nolan's bands such as Pendragon and Arena, this is perhaps as close as we come to a Prog Rock Opera.

It is difficult though to see where Nolan goes from here with such a lavish production. Unless he can secure a West End run (which would surely be successful), the expense of putting on such a show on a touring basis would surely be prohibitive. Without a high profile staging of the production over a period of time, I fear that "She" will not receive the oxygen of publicity it needs in order to gain the recognition it deserves.

The DVD includes a half hour "Making of" film, which consists of interviews with Clive and Agnieszka plus rehearsal footage. Interestingly, even Clive seems unsure where he goes with the project from here.

I would emphasise again that this is not simply a staging of a concept album. This is the a full blown rock opera fit for the 21st century.

Report this review (#165017)
Posted Wednesday, March 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars Having a cousin with undefined musical taste and a lot of money is one of the greatest lucks, he always asks me which albums are new and simply buys all, normally likes them but sometimes doesn't, so this few albums end in my hands for a cheap price.

A couple months ago he asked me for a good Neo Prog band and after I mentioned PENDRAGON, he bought all the albums (which he liked) and also the complete CAAMORA collection, which he liked except "She" being he's not fan of the opera, so for 10 bucks, got the complete set with disks and DVD.

From the first listen loved the pompous CD's which I have already reviewed but even more the spectacular DVD, it's obvious that "Clive Nolan" has much more talent as a composer than I ever thought so he created this opera (Closer to the German style of the rather than the Italian) for Agnieszka Swita's glory.

What can I say about Agnieszka? Her voice is spectacular and obviously educated, even when a bit cold, but the show is stolen by the natural charm and sympathy of Christina Booth from Magenta, her warmer style and amazing vocal range captivates the listener from the first instant. Doesn't matter if she looks tiny standing beside the much taller Agnieszka, the charisma of Christina shadows everybody.

The same happens with Clive, who despite not being a singer (We all know he's a keyboard wizard) does a very good job and would be a greater surprise if Alan Reed wasn't such a great frontman, who makes evident the differences between a professional vocalist as him and a great keyboardist who also sings as Clive.

The band is also in great level but Scott Higham from PENDRAGON is even better, always accurate, like a human metronome, strong when required and soft when the vocalists sing so they can be listened with no effort. The mini orchestra is also very strong but I can just wonder how this ambitious project would have sounded with a full Symphony orchestra.

Won't talk about the music because I have done it in the review of the CD, so the emphasis of the DVD must be based in the whole concept and the spectacular setting, that according to Clive in the bonus interview was really expensive, I just hope he gets enough financial success to make it even bigger, because this is a real opera for a new Millennium.

Enjoyed the show from start to end and I believe that deserves no less than 4 solid stars, if you are an old fashioned Proghead who like his music pompous and elaborate, this is something you must get

Report this review (#220460)
Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
4 stars What a wonderful project that this is. Clive Nolan have done is most elaborate and ambitious project with this rock opera, musical or soundtrack, whatever we can call it. Imagine watching a musical in a theater with your favorite musicians. It's not the typical neo-prog sound, but a more elaborate music that is symphonic sounding closeley to a soundtrack, reminisent of the cd of Nolan and Wakeman, "The Hound of the Bakerville". The performance of the female vocalist Agnieszka Swita and Christina Boot give a lot of emotion to the music. All the musicians from the best neo-prog bands are accompagnied by some unknown poland musicians who plays oboe, cello and horn, creating almost a full orchestra.

There is no boring passage in this more than 2 hours of performance, where Nolan, Alan Reed, and the two females singers plays the characters of this story that you have to watch more than listen. The picture and sound are quite good making this DVD a recommand buying from a progressive rock fan.

Report this review (#225005)
Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Well is delightful to hear Pallas vocalist (fantastic voice) with the good voice (for an opera act) of Clive Nolan. So good is the participation of Magenta,s female voc. And Agniesta is fantastic and beautiful(right for this play)

We can,t denie the inspiration and the quality of Clive Nolan as musician and composer. A beautiful prog. rock opera.

The music is similar to other prog rock operas as :War of Worlds and Merlin of Kayak,with a touch of Shadowlands music and Magenta,s music.

Very good musicians in stage.

The only objection i can make is that the stage choreography is quite poor.

The story is very similar to the ones of the Italian,s opera ,but quite good.

So a good piece of work of Clive Nolan,s art.

Report this review (#247246)
Posted Friday, October 30, 2009 | Review Permalink

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