Opera Bob Dylan Style

Bruce Von Stiers

I've heard different styles of music mixed together. Some work and others not quite so well. But I hadn't heard very much rock and opera together. In fact, only a couple times. I wasn't exactly a fan of the mash-up. So I was kind of mentally turning up my nose when an album crossed my desk a short time ago. This album mixed opera music with Bob Dylan songs. I thought, you've got to be kidding. But imagine my surprise that the album was actually pretty good.

The album is Dylan At The Opera. It is from an Israeli group that calls itself Diva de Lai. The members of the group are Karin Shifrin, Yuval Nachtom, Eval Sucher and Yossi Fine. Karin is considered the leading classical vocalist in Israel. Yuval is the founder of this group and not only created their unique sound, he plays the drums for them. Aside from being in rock bands, Eval conducts orchestras. He does the keys and guitar for this effort.

I have to quite honest here. I am not well versed on Bob Dylan songs. Most of the songs on the album were unfamiliar to me. So I had to research and sample the original Dylan songs to get a feel for the operatic interpretation that this group provided.

The first song on the album is Senor (Tales of Yankee Power). Cool rock guitar backs Karin's strong, forceful vocals. It has the essence of Dylan's original song with a tough operatic setting, especially the close of the song.

Is Your Love In Vain? has nice vocals and some pretty good guitar. Again, it's different than the original. I don't know if this new version holds the slight angst that Dylan portrayed.

Dear Landlord has most of the Dylanesque flavor with just a touch of opera.

As I Went Out One Morning has a kind of a kind of sideways Jefferson Airplane sound to it.

Don't Think Twice, It's All Right brings the sound a bit closer to a true Dylan style. But Karin's vocal are still done in a high, operatic styling.

North Country Blues has more of straight forward blues sound that Dylan had with the original.

Then there is Dirge, which sounds like it could have come straight out of an Italian Opera.

If You See Her, Say Hello follows the styling of the original pretty well.

Wedding Song has more of a funky Southern Rock styling.

Toe tapping music kind of mollifies the higher octave vocals in You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.

Ring Them Bells begins with an angelic choral sound. Then it brings in blues styling.

The final song on the album is Let It Be Me. Dylan only covered this song, so I'm not too sure why it was included. Except that the vocals here are both haunting and beautiful. In fact, it is probably the best song on the album.

This was really kind of a strange album. I've had a hard time reviewing it. Not that the content wasn't good. Karin has an excellent voice and the guys gave her a solid musical background to work from. I'm just not used to concept albums that use adaptive covers of iconic artists. And this had more of a rock opera style than you might have thought.

If you're a Bob Dylan purist, you'll hate this album. If you like things a little bit different and aren't opposed to opera, then this might be an album for your collection. As for me, it was very strange but had a certain appeal.

If you want more information about the album or the group, visit http://divadelai.com . You will also find them on Facebook at http://facebook.com/divadelai .

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© 2013 Bruce E Von Stiers