In Music: Classic Is Sexy
All three of them have had classical voice training, but to look at them you would guess the Appassionante singers were more at home in pulsating city night life than in an opera house: Stefania, Mara and Giorgia are young, spontaneous and drop-dead gorgeous. Just like their music that syncs with both worlds: traditional and pop. “Opera and classical music are utterly modern,” Mara says, and a fine smile plays around the corners of her mouth. “You simply have to understand and interpret it as such.” And that’s exactly what the three singers do: very convincingly and in every which way.
Appassionante, to stretch a point, means something like “thrills and chills” and the name is inseparably linked to the origin of the trio: “Our Mediterranean temperament speaks through our music,” says Giorgia, “everything that moves us as humans.” And that’s the way joy, melancholy and above all passion sound in the interplay of their voices – seductive to the ear, but also to the eye. “Who says we have to appear onstage high-necked and traditional,” Stefania explains with a charming twinkle, “we like it. Eroticism and music are two very passionate forms of communication, and together they generate a very strong language.” Stefania, Mara and Giorgia aren’t afraid to show this sensuality, in their music and in their appearance. The Appassionante girls are modern, vivacious and sexy. And the way they are divests classical sound of all its cobwebs and turns it into prospective hits. With no ifs, ands or buts.
Roman voices and international success
Life’s focal point for Appassionante is Rome. Here the girls spend their free time, draw ideas and energy from the life of the eternal city; here was also the trio’s origin. Long before Appassionante ever existed, the singers had met in Rome and come to prize each other.
Yet as much as the tone and the character of the music is infused with an Italian approach to life, the first step the trio took towards the public was in Germany: their debut album “Appassionante” was recorded 2005 in Berlin. “Germany has become a second home to us; here is where our adventure started out,” Stefania says of their beginnings, “and we have become very fond of the beauty as well as the character of this country. There’s a lot of respect here for art and also for foreign lands.” Success has, in the meantime, carried Appassionante far, from their first meeting in Rome, via the recording studio in Germany and out into the wide, wide world, all the way to South Africa and Singapore.
Salve – the new album
Via the Roman greeting of “Salve”, Appassionante is getting in touch with their public in all these countries. With an accompaniment by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra of Prague, a powerful and yet delicately beguiling coexistence of pop and classical elements wins the day. String instruments go hand in hand with danceable beats; new titles composed for “Salve” encounter classical Italian scores and worldwide triumphs from the newer history of music – and, à la Appassionante, are given a whole new face.
“Sweet Dreams, for instance, we’ve newly interpreted symphonically with an orchestra and an acoustic arrangement; the hot Latino blood of the Spanish guitar works in well – and now it’s a mix of classic, flamenco and dance,” Mara laughs. “But pieces like Sweet Dreams or The Show Must Go On are an enormous challenge for us. We approach artistic icons like Freddie Mercury only with the greatest awe and also embarrassment.”
The diversity of the album is not only manifest in the choice of musical pieces and the different styles and instrumentations, also the language ranges from Italian, English and Spanish by way of Latin all the way to Neapolitan, which is much more than just an Italian dialect.
Despite the variety in “Salve”, tradition and experimental gusto always remain in balance. For the very powerful music, also in its quiet moments, bows before Stefania, Mara and Giorgia, who in their heady voices playfully and emotionally unite the classical with the modern.
Salve was released July 25th by Maxi Media (Distribution: edel)
Stefania Francabandiera comes from the southern port town of Barletta in Apulia, at the heel of the Italian boot – maybe that’s where she derives her close emotional relationship to the sea. In any case the sea corresponds to her character with its electric tension between gentle swells and underlying power: Stefania spends her free time with literature, her penchant for sensual clothes – and kickboxing at a fitness studio. For this certified early riser, this is an ideal combination for the care of mind and body. Stefania studied classical voice in Bari, but also worked with internationally known pop greats like Zucchero or Eros Ramazzotti before she launched her own project with Appassionante.
Mara Tanchi’s motto is: “Today is the first day of your life!” And true to this motto she plans her daily routine: meeting friends, dancing and turning the night to day in Rome’s heat – and, contrary to Stefania, as far as possible not getting up before noon. But there are also quieter moments; from time to time Mara retires to the seclusion of a small mountain village and lets it all hang out. Mara doesn’t come from the Italian mainland; she was born on Sardinia. Musically she at first chose the classical mode and studied at the conservatory in Bologna; her voice even took her to the Vatican where she sang for the Pope. With Appassionate she can link her training to her musical predilections: Mara’s idols are Freddie Mercury and Whitney Houston.
Giorgia Villa has many very different enthusiasms. One of them is for the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda who was awarded the 1971 Nobel prize for literature, another one for painting, and a third is one she nurtures in common with many women: she collects shoes. Giorgia is Roman by birth and grew up south of Rome in Frosinone, the capital of the province of the same name. She was drawn very early to London to study classical and modern music. And a little also to conquer the world from there: Giorgia worked with musical artists like Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams and others. But the film “La dolce vita”, Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, sparked in her a fascination with her native city. Once she arrived, the road to Appassionante was not far: since 2007 she has been Emma Ahren’s successor.
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