(07 April 2013) Alchemy (Metal Mind (Poland) MASS CD 1469 DGD, 2013), the rock musical by Clive Nolan has been released as a two-CD set. The gorgeously packaged tri-fold digipak double release with full color libretto was preceded by the world premiere of the musical show at the famous Wyspianski Theatre in Katowice, Poland in February. The show was recorded for the purposes of a DVD which will be released by Metal Mind Productions later this year.
Alchemy is a Victorian adventure set in 1842, with a sense of the dark and mysterious. The lyrics and book are both by Clive Nolan, a British musician, composer and producer who has played a prominent role in the recent development of progressive and symphonic rock. See other reviews of his work in links in the left column.
Next to Clive Nolan himself, both the CD album and the forthcoming DVD concert version of the musical feature artists well known in progressive rock including, Tracy Hitchings (Landmarq, Strangers on a Train), Andy Sears (Twelfth Night), Paul Manzi (Arena), Damian Wilson (Threshold, Star One), David Clifford (Red Jasper) as well as the leading lady of Nolan's previous musical She, Agnieszka Swita.
The main cast of the show was expanded by the stars of the She Cheltenham theatre production, including stunning female vocalists Victoria Bolley and Soheila Clifford (live performance and DVD, not the CD) as well as Chris Lewis. On the Alchemy CD set, the role of Jessamine was sung by the stunning Noel Calcaterra, a Uruguayan singer/actress, and the voice of Clive Nolan's 2010 South American Otra Vida musical project.
The Caamora Company musicians--including Clive Nolan (keyboards), Mark Westwood (guitars), Scott Higham (drums), Claudio Momberg (keyboards) and Kylan Amos (bass)--were responsible for the instrumental part of the project both on a CD and DVD.
Clive Nolan comments, "For me, the creation of Alchemy has been a three-year journey so far. I have lived with the growing story and the developing music almost on a daily basis. It has become an integral part of my life. Recording the CD, in many ways, helps to provide an official stamp on the project!"
Alchemy's musical themes are gorgeous. The arrangements are superb, and the vocals are amazing. Performances by each of the female vocalists are stunning and we were especially pleased to hear the contributions to a Clive Nolan Musical by Tracy Hitchings. Perhaps they will make the third Strangers On A Train album!
Listeners will adore the delivery of the musical's female parts played by Victoria Bolley (Eva), and Noel Calcaterra (Jassamine). In fact, if you have not heard Nolan's Otra Vida before reading this article, you must do so now. Also from the Cheltenham run of She, Soheila Clifford, a young singer, actress and model, delivers the role of a mercenary on the CD but performed Jassamine in the Poland live performance of the musical.
In addition to delivering music that spans Clive Nolan's styles, Alchemy includes several musical themes that span the project. The majority of the female vocal work on the project is sung by Agnieszka Swita. A stunning West End-style ballad stands out. Entitled "Share This Dream," the song is sung by Victoria Bolley whose delivery provides allusions to the world famous Sarah Brightman.
Nolan continued, "Alchemy is for me the biggest musical and artistic challenge I have ever attempted. I really didn't expect a bigger mountain to climb than the She project, but I was wrong. This show is simply larger in structure and depth. By the time we do the Cheltenham shows, it will have been four years of my life!"
Alchemy has proven to be an outstanding work that is extremely well produced, performed with style and pinache and whose story is delivered perfectly through song. Listen most carefully to songs involving several of the players, especially "Treachery" near the conclusion of the
musical. These clearly illustrate significant growth from She and point to the continued development of Clive Nolan's style. The two-CD set is fabulous. Bravo!