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Gloria George – “Ombra Mai Fu”

Gloria George – “Ombra Mai Fu”

gloria_smallgloria_smallAt age six, doctors told Gloria that she would never speak again. After proving them wrong through successful surgery, Gloria started pursuing music. She experimented with many styles and genres, but never found one to work for her voice. And then she came across opera.

On first listen, you would never guess that Gloria is a novice opera singer. You’d think that she’s been involved in it for years. But even though she’s spent little time with opera thus far, she’s now up-to-date on its fundamentals and history. Gloria has selected a handful of classic opera songs, covering a timespan of nearly 200 years for A Few Great Arias. The songs she’s selected, such as “Nessun Dorma” and “Pie Jesu”, have been performed by many recognizable pop-opera artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Sarah Brighton, and Andrea Bocelli. Now, Gloria’s giving them a shot.

I find Gloria’s vocals to be strongest on “Ombra Mai Fu.” Her voice makes a smooth transition from soprano to falsetto. She starts off by sustaining a seven-second note without any wavering. Her breathing is barely noticeable. “Ombra Mai Fu” can only be done by someone who has a vocal range as wide as Gloria’s.

My advice to Gloria is about as cliche as possible: keep practicing. While she has mastered “Ombra Mai Fu” and delivered a very strong rendition of “Pie Jesu”,  she struggles a little bit with the falsettos of “Nessun Dorma.” Granted, she sings this song better than about 99.9{41e357fed0c84f9247e7e029c2544c4f4d2795d9dff547b874d0988202651dd4} of the people you’ve met. It’s just a challenging number. While she hits the high notes, the volume and projection isn’t nearly as strong as with lower octaves. She’s tip-toeing through them. Playing it safe. I’d like to hear a bit more soul and character in those high notes. But since these recordings are from someone who just stumbled upon opera recently, I wouldn’t be surprised if she recorded a new version tomorrow to make my review sound really stupid.

A Few Great Arias “Ombra Mai Fu” clip by Gloria George

Production Name:
“A Few Great Arias”

Biography (short):
Unlike many singers, Gloria’s gift for opera was only recently discovered. From an early age her passion for music was evident in the way she played the piano. However, she struggled to find a voice that would satisfy her longing to sing. Perhaps, it was because she searched too hard and experimented too often with other genres of music.  Her struggle ended a few months ago when she decided she would try to sing opera.

Not only did she surprise herself with the ability to sing opera, she also left her mother speechless. For her mother and father, Gloria’s beautiful Soprano voice was not only an unexpected surprise, but the reminder of a miracle from the Lord. At the age of five, Gloria had a stroke which left the entire left side of her body paralyzed; she, then had surgery when she was six. The doctors were confident, however, that Gloria may not ever talk again, and that it would be years before she learned to walk again. But by the grace of God, her dad, mom, and brother all remember how “chatty” she was after walking out of the hospital. Years later, Gloria is in great health, walking, talking,  playing sports, getting A’s in school, and singing opera of course!

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