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Opus Avantra - Introspezione - Donella Del Monaco CD (album) cover


Opus Avantra



3.88 | 72 ratings

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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...

andrea | 5/5 |


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