This week I have been listening to “People’s Soprano” Rebecca Newman’s classical chart topping album Dare to Dream and it’s an absolute belter. Although I have been aware of Rebecca for a year or so, mainly through twitter,(social media PR does work) this is the first time I have listened to her beautiful voice – and I’ve been missing out.
Having started her musical career aged 14 as Julie Jordan in Carousel at the Exmouth Pavilion, Rebecca then took holiday jobs to pay for singing lessons. The world of work beckoned and it wasn’t until she went to York to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics that she began treating singing as more than just a hobby. Weddings and busking supported her singing lessons and eventually led to the release of her first CD, Music Box in 2005. Cantare (2008), Memory (2009), O Holy Night (2010) and Fields of Gold (2011) followed. Live performances last year culminated in supporting Aled Jones on his Cathedral tour.
Dare to Dream is a collection of mainly operatic arias with a couple of original songs (co-written by Rebecca) as well. Of the two original songs, Heroes to the World is a classical sounding song with a pop like structure that could easily be something used in the sporting world whilst Dare to Dream is an inspiring song that sounds like it’s Rebecca’s personal motto. If it isn’t, it should be!
My favourite song on the album is also Alfie Boe’s favourite (he has tweeted his support for Rebecca several times), Casta Diva, from Bellini’s Norma. Known as one of the most difficult arias in a soprano’s repertoire, Rebecca’s soaring vocals gave me tingles down my spine as I listened.
Overall, the album has an excellent choice of songs to showcase Rebecca’s range although I did find my interest waning when it came to some of the songs that we are somewhat used to hearing from sopranos in recent years. Much better to hear Rebecca’s impressive voice wrapped around Micaela’s Aria, Rondine al Nido and Sull’Aria (duet with fellow soprano Mary Jess). When it came to La Boheme’s Mi Chimiano Mimi, I confess that my mind started wandering to the possibilities of a Rebecca / Alfie duet – to hear them sing O Soave Fanciulla would be wonderful but anything would do!
Dare to Dream is available from Amazon:
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