Image © Universal Classics 2006
Sissel / My Heart (2002 / 2004)
(12 March 2006) Beauty abounds with Sissel's newest release, Into Paradise (Universal Classics (USA) B0006140-02, 2006). Her distinctive and exquisite soprano voice explodes with magnificent interpretations of an eclectic assortment of operatic melodies, classical favorites, and traditional folk and some pop melodies. Her accomplished ethereal tones create a poignant collection for all to enjoy.
This Norwegian chanteuse engages her listeners with a variety of tunes which exhibit her depth of range and emotive charm. There is a purity to her voice with her classical crossover renditions. This album continues to showcase her effortless vocals as a followup to her 2004 release of My Heart. The songs on In Paradise were recorded in Norway with the internationally renowned Trondheim Soloists.
When she sings, Sissel shows her passion for her craft, or rather her gift, by her sensitive recordings. The CD has an assortment of genres ranging from Mozart and Bach to Puccini to Abba, interspersed with some traditional Norse folk tales. Especially notable songs are "Wachet Auf" by Bach, "Marble Halls" and the memorable "Sancta Maria." Sissel says, "I like the variety of doing a bit of everything. The style of music is not important to me, as long as it has good melodies. Sometimes at concerts I like the music when it is groovy, and other times I like when it is haunting. A lot of classical music has that element, and folk music as it, too."
Her radiant voice carries the listener to the varied moods of her music, celebrating a diversity of styles. Her love for singing is evident with the touching and soothing tunes. The notes are crystalline and Sissel easily shows off her vocal range. Sissel says, "My heart is in beautiful music, music that touches me."
Sissel has kept busy since her March 2004 release of My Heart. Most recently, in May 2005, Sissel performed with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Salt Lake City, Utah. She joined the choir to commemorate the Centennial of Norwegian Independence from Sweden, which was being celebrated in 2005. A majority of the Tabernacle Choir count their ancestry from Norway. Sissel sang the ABBA song "Like An Angel Passing Through My Room," "Vitae Lux," and "Herre gud, ditt dyre navn" with the choir. In the spring of 2006, Sissel is launching another US tour.
There are two different versions of Into Paradise, rather than the same album being released in both the UK and the USA. The UK album contains 14 tracks, while the USA album features only 12 tracks. However, the USA version hasn't just dropped two tracks from the UK version. It has dropped four songs from the UK release and added two others. The songs which are on the UK version, but not on the USA release are: "What Child Is This," "The Sleeping Princess," "Salley Gardens," and "Ave Verum Corpus." The songs that have been added to the USA release, which are not on the UK album are: "Bereden väg för Herran" (from Sissel's recent "Nordisk vinternatt" album) and "Adagio."
Into Paradise is a delightful album with its sweeping orchestral melodies and ethereal vocals. Sissel
doesn't disappoint with her angelic and pure tones. The listener is left with feelings of joy and begging for more. She is a mega-star with a mega-voice.--Audrey Elliot in New York