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OPUS AVANTRA

RIO/Avant-Prog • Italy


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Opus Avantra biography
OPUS AVANTRA comprises three parts: OPUS (opera - work) AVAN (avanguardia - vanguard) and TRA (tradition - tradition). Their style blends elements of progressive, classical, opera, jazz and just plain general weirdness, using keyboards, bass, drums, violins, cellos, clarinet, flutes and other instruments. They were highly influential in the progressive avant-garde scene of the time.

"Introspezione" also referred to as "Donella Del Monaco" has all kinds of classical influences including contempory classic. Beautiful operatic voice which I like very much. The second album ("Lord Cromwell") is more difficult, almost avant garde but contempory and old classical music inspired too. It takes time to fully appreciate this album but it's worth to give it that time. "Strata" has beautiful vocal passages, some difficult piano pieces but very interesting too! The fourth album "Lyrics" is somewhat overshadowed being less difficult, less intense, with more minimal of ideas, but still coming forth from the first aproach. Still they are one of the all time best Italian bands. If you're up to it, start with "Introspezzione".

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donella del monaco LPdonella del monaco LP
TRIDENT
Vinyl$30.00 (used)
IntrospezioneIntrospezione
Import
Btf 2008
Audio CD$13.55
$12.26 (used)
Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco (LP Miniature)Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco (LP Miniature)
Import
Media Arte Kr
Audio CD$21.99
Live Concerts ExcerptsLive Concerts Excerpts
Import · Remastered
Polydor Japan 2007
Audio CD$35.29
$43.08 (used)
Lord CromwellLord Cromwell
Import
Cramps Records Imp 2011
Audio CD$15.11
$20.74 (used)
Lord Cromwell -Plays Suite for Seven VicLord Cromwell -Plays Suite for Seven Vic
Extra tracks · Import
Polydor Japan 2007
Audio CD$32.71
$49.88 (used)
Lord Cromwell PlaysLord Cromwell Plays
Import
2002
Audio CD$97.22 (used)
LyricsLyrics
Import · Remastered
Polydor Japan 2007
Audio CD$28.45
$22.27 (used)
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OPUS AVANTRA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

OPUS AVANTRA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.87 | 41 ratings
Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco
1974
3.49 | 25 ratings
Lord Cromwell (plays suite for seven vices)
1975
3.77 | 17 ratings
Strata
1989
3.29 | 13 ratings
Lyrics
1995
2.67 | 3 ratings
Venetia Et Anima (by Donella Del Monaco & Paolo Troncon; Opus Avantra)
2004

OPUS AVANTRA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OPUS AVANTRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

1.00 | 1 ratings
Viaggio Immaginario - Live in Tokyo
2009

OPUS AVANTRA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

OPUS AVANTRA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

OPUS AVANTRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lord Cromwell (plays suite for seven vices) by OPUS AVANTRA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.49 | 25 ratings

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Lord Cromwell (plays suite for seven vices)
Opus Avantra RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Opus Avantra is considerated one of the top avant prog bands from Italy from the old school. The second album of this discret band, issued in 1975 and named Lord Cromwell (plays suite for seven vices) is an odd treat for me, even not bad overall. The music offered is among the most avant prog I've listned recently and quite difficult to grasp on one spin or two, combining elements from aformentioned genre with classical music, weird arrangements and operatic vocal passages here and there. Lots of flutes, cello , violins combined with more traditional instruments makes Opus Avantra music quite a chalenge for my ears. There are some great songs here that I like , Flowers on Pride or Gluttony, but are some that I really can't get into like Ira or My Vice, to avant and experimental for my taste. Anyway I do consider this album fairly decent and most of the time enjoyble, but I can't find myself listning to this odd music very often. 3 stars is best I can give, good but hardly essential or groundbreaking for me. Strange gatefold cover aswell as the music.

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 Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco by OPUS AVANTRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.87 | 41 ratings

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Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco
Opus Avantra RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Dobermensch

4 stars Despite having one of the most wonderful set of female vocal cords I've heard - Donella Del Monaco leaves me very confused indeed. 'Introspezione' begins off classical, before abruptly morphing into prog with drums, bass and guitar. What really sets it apart from other prog albums is the fact that it deviates enormously into wayward operatic shennanigans with vocal screechings by Donella Del Monaco with glass shattering intensity.

She sounds like she should be singing in front of royalty in the Albert Hall, not stuck in front of a microphone singing mental stuff like this. The instrumentation is very avant garde in parts reminding me of classical composer 'Pendericki' . Before you can get your head around whats going on, things cut abruptly to 'Stockhausen' electronics experimentation before falling back into flute driven prog. This is real schizo stuff.

'Introspezione' chops and changes so often between genres, and so frequently that it's very difficult to form an overall opinion. This is one album that has no idea where it wants to be and is all the better for it. This is a real jellyfish mess of of sound in a style that is guaranteed to leave you scratching your head wondering what the hell you just bought. Believe me, it's much better and far more challenging than the cover looks. Bizarre, enjoyable - but a tough album!

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 Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco by OPUS AVANTRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.87 | 41 ratings

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Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco
Opus Avantra RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Well Finnforest hit the nail on the head really when he said if you don't like Pierrot Lunaire's "Gudrun" then you probably won't like this. I should have listened. I can appreciate that to many this is an absolute classic but there are certain qualities about it that really turn me off. Just my taste in music of course,and I can appreciate the appeal here.

"Introspezione" is a short dissonant piano piece that I like but then we get "Les Plaisirs Sont Doux..." with the strings, piano and higher pitched female vocals. Not bad. "La Masmellata" is tough for me to enjoy with the fast paced soprano female vocals with flute and strings. Just not my scene really.

"L'altalena" opens with strings and is sombre.The reserved female vocals join in then flute.Very classical sounding like much of this album unfortunately for me. It's much better when the sound gets fuller. Contrasts continue. "Monologo" is kind of dark early on as these creepy female vocals with strings come in. It continues to be intense and eerie.

"Il Pavone" opens with laid back piano as drums and strings join in. Reserved vocals follow. Just not a fan of this one at all. "Ahi Douleur" is the worst simply because of the operatic vocals and classical feel. Sorry but I can't handle this.

"Deliee" has piano, flute, vocal melodies and more.Vocals do come in. Not a fan. "Oro" is a mellow tune with the focus on the vocals and strings.

"Rituale-Ashralem" opens with whispered vocals that build as does the sound.The vocals stop and it sounds good before 1 1/2 minutes. Flute too.The vocals return and they are theatrical.They stop again as the music becomes the focus and it's really good here.

A low 3 stars for my tastes but one well worth checking out if you like that clasical style that is very much left of center. And hey a liking for operatic vocals doesn't hurt either.

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 Strata by OPUS AVANTRA album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.77 | 17 ratings

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Strata
Opus Avantra RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A very difficult album to form an opinion, worthy a review, on.

"The beauty and the beast" is an old cliche we writers sometimes grab hold of when we have run out of both imaginations and rope. In this case; that cliche really describes this album.

So let me start with the beauty. That's Donella Del Monaco's truly excellent operatic vocals. She is using them to great effects on some psalms songs. They are truly superb songs (I have mislaid the CD booklet at home so I do not have their names).

The beast...... Well, that is the not so cleverly made dissonant avant-garde bits here. I am happy to listen to avant-garde music. But in this case; these songs does not sound coherent and as dynamic as truly good avant-garde music has. It seems more like the extras to Donella Del Monaco's vocals and hastily made/written/recorded.

In short; Strata is an incoherent album which is saved by Donella Del Monaco and her efforts. That and some good pieces of other music too inbetween the not so clever other half of this album.

Strata is by no means a masterpiece or even a great album. But it is still a good album and worthy further investigations.

3 stars

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 Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco by OPUS AVANTRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.87 | 41 ratings

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Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco
Opus Avantra RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by andrea
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Opus Avantra are an Italian prog band from Venice that was formed in 1973 on the initiative of Donella Del Monaco (vocals, lyrics), Alfredo Tisocco (piano, keyboards and composer), Giorgio Bisotto (philosopher and "ideologist" of the band) and Renato Marengo (producer). The name of this project is an acronym that reflects the main sources of inspiration (Opera, Avant-garde, Tradition). The aim was to break the cultural barriers between classical and popular music blending opera with jazz, contemporary music and traditional melodies. The debut album of the band "Opus Avantra ? Donella Del Monaco" (also known as "Introspezione", from the title of the first track) was released in 1974 for the independent label Trident and was recorded with the help of some guest musicians like Tony Esposito (percussion), Luciano Tavella (flute), Enrico Professione (violin) and Pierdino Tisato (drums). It's a concept album about the sentimental education of a girl, a musical journey through the hidden feelings of a woman led by the magnificent Donella Del Monaco's vocals.

The short experimental opener "Introspezione" (Introspection) is an example of "musique concrète". Introspection is the self-observation and reporting of conscious inner thoughts, desires and sensations. In this case it's a kind of soundtrack for a return to childhood on the wings of a musical psychoanalysis...

"Les plaisirs sont doux ? Nel piccolo giardino" (The pleasures are sweet ? Into the little garden) is a traditional piece from the Haute-Savoy re-elaborated y the band... "You are down into the little garden / Among the high yellow daisies / Amazed by an admirable play of the nature / That I can't understand...". The recitative vocals in Italian counterpoint the beautiful soaring melody sung in French. It's a sweet anthem to beauty and youth inviting you to catch your time... "The air softly touches you, voiceless... And the long light of today doesn't want to see the new day...".

"La marmellata - Carillon" (The Jam ? Carillon) is a peculiar nursery rhyme underlined by percussion, flute and harpsichord. Donella Del Monaco's vocals explore childhood souvenirs, then an obsessive sound of carillon comes in. You can almost imagine the shadow of Sigmund Freud in the background...

On "L'altalena" (The swing) we're still in the playground, on a hanging seat swinging into the void, bowing in the air like feathers. Children dance, run, moan and here a little girl can feel like a queen in a play of signs... The music is dreamy, vocals operatic and intense... "The sunlight went into pieces / And time took me away...".

"Monologo" (Monologue) is a short recitative interlude with experimental sounds in the background. A mirror reflects the imagine of a self-assured face that has lost the amazement for the ancient carillons... "My only chance to live lies against everything / And I want to live it without any limit / Into my truth behind the mirror...".

"Il pavone" (The peacock) is a beautiful and dreamy melodic song about the first love where the male is compared to a peacock trying to conquer his prey... "Cradle of useless words / Burst of meaningless remorse / Play from an hallucination / Where the time is blurred / I scream but I can't hear my voice... Now your hand scares me / But I'm already smiling / Here I am / A woman by now, you know it / A woman without uncertainties in her reality...".

"Ah, douleur" (I feel pain) begins with a baroque atmosphere featuring harpsichord, strings and operatic vocals, then rhythm takes off blending rock and classical music. Love and pain as two faces of the same coin... "Your heart beats in your chest / The blood runs in my body / And I can't endure it anymore...".

"Déliée" (Nimble) starts with a strong Oriental flavour featuring piano, flute and charming vocals. Then a delicate melody soars... This track describes the lack of the lover haunting a woman in love... Well, the influence of the "chanson française" here is clear.

The sensual and exotic "Oro" (Gold) greets the come back of the lover with an "Arabian Nights" atmosphere where time stops in the eternal immensity, satisfying an ancient and pagan thirst... "Gold on me, dressed in silk / Gold on my hair where plays the daylight / Your eyes caress the nudity of my face and of my white breast...".

On the last track "Rituale - Ashralem" (Ritual - Ashralem) the lovers are free to live the most ancient of the rites in an apotheosis of the senses. Music and vocals here describe sex as a form of spirituality. Well, an orgasmic finale for a challenging a wonderful album!

The re-release on CD features also an alternative and longer version of the first track. Now the circle is closed and you can start again...

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 Lyrics by OPUS AVANTRA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.29 | 13 ratings

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Lyrics
Opus Avantra RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Not the place to start

And so we arrive at the final (to date) Opus Avantra album, the 4th, "Lyrcis." Opus Avantra are a much loved RPI band dating back to the 1970s, led by composer Alfredo Tisocco, and featuring the lovely voice of the acclaimed Donella del Monaco. Behind them are a large troupe of musicians dedicated to the experiments of combining classical music, opera, and the avant-garde. It is a formula that has served them well and treated fans to four worthwhile albums over the years.

While "Lyrics" is another classy and meticulous project it is probably not the place to begin for people new to Opus Avantra. The two 70's albums are filled with more warm and sentimental melodies, the third album Strata is an object of pure beauty, and Lyrics is left to be perhaps the most difficult release of the four. It does not seem concerned with beauty or pretty melodies, but is more a collection of sound meditations of chamber music. The "full immersion into the sounds of the past through the machines of the future" is how Tisocco describes "Viaggio Immaginario", the first of two long suites. Here the process of sampling live musicians and creating the work through computers was a "fantastic sensation" to Tisocco. Violins, cello, percussion, oboe, flute, and bass are used as both rhythmic backgrounds and leads in different situations, sometimes it sounds like classical music, other times it lulls you into a bit of a trance---it reminded me most of some of the albums I've heard by Oregon. It's a strong and impressive piece of work even if it leaves me a bit dry compared to other Avantra releases. I miss some of the raw passions of the early work, even Donella's vocals here are infrequent and more subdued than in the past. Perhaps that was all part of the plan, to explore a more disciplined landscape, to make a clear departure to another place.

Part 2 of "Viaggio" is a treat with Donella's mournful operatic song pausing here and there for a lovely violin expression. Part 3 continues the strange, unyielding and tense background rhythm as it crescendos. The four part "Mysterious Japanese Suite" is next and clocks in at about 15 minutes. Here Tisocco speaks of the trials of trying to arrange a piano score with more than 100,000 notes. This is pretty cerebral stuff, dry again, and has a feeling of restlessness hanging over it. Even the lovely woodwinds in part 2 cannot find the sense of peace. In part 3 things get even more chaotic with furious piano storms, tense strings, and odd percussions that sound like a young band finding the key to the percussion closet at Abbey Road. Oddly, Donella is not utilized in this track, the album's centerpiece. She returns for the lovely traditional "Ballata." A very minimalist strings piece follows (Lirica Metafisica) that is unsettling in the sparse dialogue panning back and forth between the strings, with no accompaniment. "Danza Arcana" is the one nod to the playful mischief of the 1970s albums, four minutes of wild and crazy that will remind you of the early work even as it ultimately goes a different direction. The album ends with the plaintive and introspective "Meditazione" which is a quiet keyboard piece.

"Lyrics" is an interesting work to check out after you've heard the others, when you can appreciate the departure more by being familiar with the Opus sound tradition. In some ways this may be their most consistent work while at the same time, not as much pure fun. The Artis Records issue features a booklet with notes on the music and some nice photos of the musicians.

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 Strata by OPUS AVANTRA album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.77 | 17 ratings

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Strata
Opus Avantra RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Over a decade had passed...

...since we last heard from Opus Avantra and their musings about Lord Cromwell and the "seven deadly sins." The decade of hiatus for other projects obviously stoked Opus Avantra into music that feels the product of great inspiration. This is some pretty deep music that I don't mind saying goes over my rock and roll head in places. Composer and multi-instrumentalist Alfredo Tisocco is reunited here with famed soprano Donella Del Monaco, who for some reason did not appear on Lord Cromwell but made history with Tisocco on the Opus debut, a favorite of many classically enthused RPI fans.

What struck me was the change in my own feelings between my initial plays and later ones. At first I found the new approach to be stiffer, drier, and stuffier than the first two albums. It all came across as incredibly formal and with an air of affluence and sophistication. Impeccable arrangements and tight emotions emanate from Tisocco's piano and the disciplined string section. The world class vocals of Ms. Del Monaco are pure operatic beauty in the grandest Italian tradition, and I close my eyes and let her voice take me to some imaginary theatre in the old country. It is a spiritual experience to hear her on this record and I find her performance much more rewarding than the better known "Introspezione" vocal tracks. Tisocco throws everything on the table in just the second track "Quiete e Tumulto" as he begins with the sheer beauty of the piano before letting it descend to pure chaos in the second half. "Danza Degli" displays the fine string section paired off against flautist Vincenzo Caroli. There are four main vocal tracks for Del Monaco and each is separated with two mainly instrumental pieces. The instrumental sections can get pretty nuts with piano, flute, and strings flailing in a gonzo avant stew-what I imagine Henry Cow to be like from the little I've heard. And here is where the initial misperception falls away. What I first perceived as drier was anything but--Strata has plenty of rich personality and warmth, it simply is presented in a slightly more upscale package, figuratively speaking. It simply is a bit more mature (and perhaps more challenging) while maintaining all of the heart and inquisitive spirit of those two albums from the mid 70s. And it has confidence. Strata never sounds like an album trying to tiptoe back into the music scene a bit rusty from hiatus. It sounds like the album Opus Avantra was destined to leave us.

While "Lord Cromwell" has the melodic hooks that I would describe as more instantly likable, "Strata" may well be the most fully realized recording by Opus Avantra. It may be the most daring and I believe it is the recording that will age the best to the older RPI fans-this one will get better and better with each passing year you listen. Fans must find the Strange Days issue Japanese mini-lp sleeve, which will give you a gorgeous, high quality gatefold reproduction along with a delightful 11 minute bonus track that fits well into the context of the album. This album, along with Cromwell, are the two reasons Opus Avantra are one of my favorite RPI groups. That said, Opus Avantra is a group I must be in the mood for. While I can always appreciate their beautiful side, their experimental/avant side can nearly drive you batty if you're listening in traffic, stressed out, or hungover. Make sure you're ready for attentive listening before you go here.

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 Lord Cromwell (plays suite for seven vices) by OPUS AVANTRA album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.49 | 25 ratings

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Lord Cromwell (plays suite for seven vices)
Opus Avantra RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars No sophomore slump for Opus

Opus Avantra is one of the heavyweights of the RPI scene who get far too little attention for reasons I can't identify. As their name implies this is a group which mixes classical and opera with avant-garde passages and traditional melodies. To break it down even more Opus Avantra really have two sides to them on these first two 70s releases. There is their avant side which can sometimes be compelling and sometimes quite irritating, with instruments pressed into pursuit of the seemingly random. Their other side is what draws me in and makes them one of my favorite RPI groups: the simply drop-dead gorgeous classical and opera over heavenly piano and flute melodies. The band was born in 1973 Veneto and is most known for famed vocalist Donella del Monaco and composer Aldredo Tisocco, but quite a large number of musicians have participated over the years. After their first two mid 70s albums came a long break before two more studio albums appeared, one in the late 80s and another in the 90s.

"Lord Cromwell" is their sophomore effort and it is spectacular, I actually prefer it to their more widely acclaimed debut which featured del Monaco. (She was absent from this second album) This is a conceptual work based on the seven deadly sins and it has a more determined, motivated feel to it-they really went for it here compositionally speaking. Most of it works very well and sometimes they remind me of Australia's Rainbow Theater in their approach. The "avant" sections of their first two albums have moments that annoy me to no end because they often break the flow of the heart-achingly beautiful classical sections. They don't wreck the experience completely, they just nudge it down a bit. I also feel that the avant sections are not going to be quite radical enough to please what the Avant-Rio genre fans of today are used to, thus making Opus Avantra most useful to fans of classical and opera music with some prog feel and general moments of weirdness. A good description of their sound follows: "old-school synthesizers, sawing violins, piano, very clear electric guitar, flute, percussion (both rock and classical) and a highly theatrical but largely vibrato-free American-accented soprano. On top of that, its influences are atypical; where avant-prog usually draws on composers from the first half of the 20th century and sometimes from the Renaissance, Opus Avantra seem to be more concerned with the Baroque and Classical periods and the avant-garde of the 50s and 60s. Sometimes these styles are cleanly separated from each other, as in the lyrical Bach-goes-symph "Gluttony," or "My Vice," in which 60s-style analog synths slide and whir behind an atonal harpsichord part. In the longer pieces, styles are thrown together almost willy-nilly: "Avarice," for instance, starts out sounding like Boulez circa Structures Ia, but passes through some tempestuous pseudo-Beethoven and then melds the two together with blurry atonal synth parts and droney pedal points in the piano." -Alex Temple, Progweed

But oh those pretty songs... "Flowers on Pride", "Lust", and "Gluttony" are three of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. Gorgeous male and female choirs take the place of Donella on this album and they do just fine. The approach of the American choir worked splendidly basking in the glory of the strings, the dancing flutes, and the beautiful piano melodies of Alfredo. Occasionally the vocals will offer up spoken word narration to emphasize some dramatic buildup. The more experimental sections are less interesting to me but "Avarice" is a stunning, lengthy piano solo with plenty of twists and turns. "Ira" approaches sheer instrumental madness in places for almost 8 minutes. Overall the music of "Lord Cromwell" swells with the spirit of the 1970s Italian scene: bold, beautiful, and a bit outrageous in places but always retaining a bit of the calming reserve that comes from the lovely piano. This is an album that should thrill any RPI fan who loves gorgeous classical infused music with little rock content. I can't in good conscious give it 5 stars on this site but in my own heart it is a masterpiece. The Artis pressing features passable sound and a bonus track, but this title really needs a quality mini-lp sleeve remaster, and soon! If you've heard and enjoyed the debut you will certainly want to hear "Lord Crowell" too.

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 Lyrics by OPUS AVANTRA album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.29 | 13 ratings

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Lyrics
Opus Avantra RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Moderator / Psych Team

4 stars Cheers for great Italian avantgarde progressive band!

Beg your pardon but Lyrics is the first OPUS AVANTRA's album for me. I can't now understand it's whether good or not, but I think it's okay because the album has several short suites plus short songs, and is not relatively hard to hear. OPUS AVANTRA is a project by two leaders, Alfredo Tisocco the practical leader, and Donella Del Monaco the vocalist and the mental core of the band. It's not overappreciation that he and she together should make and drive the project.

This album is composed by two suites and four short pieces of song. First, Viaggio Immaginario...in English, imaginary trip...is made by repeated phrases by strings, horn section, and percussion with opera voice. This suite can remind me BOLERO by Joseph Maurice Ravel (as everyone should say?), namely it should get more elevated and louder as an eagle flyes. Simple but strong phrases repeated can kick us out completely. Next suite is named Mysterious Japanese Suite. Japanese? How?...I can't understand well what they might intend. Humbly, I can imagine that the suite should express itself as Japanese traditional art, No-Gaku. Some speedy tension and conversely slower flute sound can remind me the real No-Dance of young or old ladies, and attacking and hitting points the one of Han-nya, an ogre or a devil. Or I can imagine a busy and restless life of a modern Japanese... Also about the other 4 pieces Donella's opera-like or hiphop-like voice should be the key point of the songs.

Lyrics itself is not a concept album but it can throw us listeners into the AVANTRland. With confidence I can say they are pride of avant-progressive world.

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 Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco by OPUS AVANTRA album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.87 | 41 ratings

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Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco
Opus Avantra RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Strange and challenging but not for everyone.

This album is a bit of a trip, you just never know what's coming next or what's around the corner. If you have heard and like Pierrot Lunaire's "Gudrun" then you will want to take the plunge here. Conversely if you hate that record chances are good you won't appreciate this one. I would say this album is a bit less strange and a bit more traditional in background than is "Gudrun" but the comparison in style is still a valid one.

Donella Del Monaco has the voice of an angel and applies it to an odd collection of piano, violin, flute, cello, and percussion. The music is unbridled and primarily acoustic with little rock and roll influence. The vocals are operatic styled in most songs and controlled yet emotional and warm. This is not music I will listen to often frankly but I'm glad to have had the experience, so take what you will from that advice.

The opening is a collage piece with piano, spoken word with trippy effects, odd noises, etc. Sounds a little like a bunch of toddlers being released into the school music room. "Les Plaisirs Sont Doux" is completely captivating with gorgeous vocals, piano and violin. "La Marmellata" begins with the voices of children and features flutes with a "swirled" sound to them. "L'Altalena" is just a very melodic and flowing song that gives a break from any strangeness. But that picks up again in "Monologo" which is very eerie with spoken word and tense violin-I have no idea what she's saying but it sounds distressing! "Il Pavone" is the one somewhat conventional song you will find within having rhythmic drumming and some structural boundaries for Donella to sing within. It's a nice song with flute and piano throughout. "Deliee" is my vote for the most beautiful song in this set and again I only wish I understood Italian.

This album will appeal to fans of Avant and Italian prog and anyone who wants to hear plenty of beautiful soprano, piano, against rather strange arrangements. This album will not appeal to people who like more conventional music or who want to rock out.

The Trident Records re-issue is a nicely done gatefold mini-LP sleeve featuring the alluring and mysterious artwork, and exceptional sound quality. Between 3 and 4 stars but I'm rounding down for now on this one.

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