Classical and Contemporary
Blessing is the debut album from 29-year-old singing sensation, Christina Johnston and demonstrates her artistry in tracks as varied as Handel to Gareth Williams
Review by Adrian Peel
Boasting a stunning vocal range, this talented songbird – who was accepted with scholarship into The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, before going on to study at Prague State Opera – is already making a name for herself in the classical sphere, having toured in Europe, Asia and South America.
Blessing, a mixture of popular opera arias plus some rarities ideally suited to her soprano voice, was released on September 22 via new label, Tadlow Classics. The track listing includes selections by Mozart, Rachmaninov, Puccini, Bellini, Dvorak and Handel and sees Johnston sing in no fewer than nine different languages.
The title track, one of only two contemporary pieces, is a haunting Celtic ballad based on a traditional text and set to a melody by popular Swedish singer Myrra Malmberg. It serves as the perfect opener to the album. The other modern-flavoured number is the moving “Fallen Soldier,” which features lyrics by author Frederick Forsyth. The song was composed by Gareth Williams, who has also worked on albums by Lesley Garrett and Rebecca Newman and is a talented composer in his own right.
Classical numbers that stand out among this carefully-chosen collection include “Lascia Ch’io Pianga” from Handel’s Rinaldo; Alexander Alyabyev’s “The Nightingale”; Johann Strauss II’s “Fruhlingsstiimmen”; and the notoriously difficult arias “Der Holle Rache” from Mozart’s The Magic Flute and “The Bell Song” from French composer Leo Delibes’ Lakme. Johnston – whom the President of the Czech Republic calls “an angel” and “the English Princess” – does a superlative job on all of them.
For more information on Christina Johnston, or to check on upcoming tour dates, visit her official Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheChristinaJohnston/.