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An Introduction To Opera

operabackingtracksAn Introduction To Opera

Opera was developed in Western Europe in the late 16th century. A combination of mixing music and drama.

The Baroque period developed in the last decades of the 16th century. It is distinguished, above all, by the development of what has become known as dramatic monody. Here a simple form of melody closely follows the rhythms and intonations of speech, accompanied by simple if occasionally startling chords. The new technique of composition made opera possible. Plays with songs and dances were one thing, but works providing a dramatic combination of words and music throughout were something different.

There were three principal elements from the ancient world that influenced the development of opera: Greek and Roman tragedy, ancient rhetoric, and the work of the philosophers Plato and Aristotle. Interest in classical Greek tragedy brought with it the understanding that music and dance had been essential elements of performance. With the ancient music now lost, a new music was created. At the same time the rules and conventions of classical Greek and Roman rhetoric came to be reflected in drama. The new art of opera could also seek theoretical support from the works of Plato and Aristotle.

From Plato came the idea that certain kinds of music were rightly associated with certain states of mind or soul. In the philosophical dialogue The Republic Plato’s hero Socrates suggests that some kinds of music should be banned, because of the effect they have on character. Others are to be encouraged as fostering bravery or prudence. This was at the basis of what became the Doctrine of the Affections, the association of certain pieces of music with certain states of mind, so that a sad song, for example, might both express the feeling of the singer and arouse a similar feeling in those who heard it. From Aristotle came the now fundamental connection of music with poetry and rhetoric, together with the suggested moral purpose of drama. Through the proper exercise of the emotions of pity and fear, exercised on suitable subjects, an audience would undergo a moral cleansing, a catharsis. Opera, then, had a moral purpose. It was soon, of course, to have a political one.

From the very beginning, opera brought together all the arts. It involved painting, poetry, drama, dance and music, making it the most complex of art forms. It was, as Samuel Johnson later pointed out, exotic and irrational, and, as many have found, remarkably expensive. It remained, nevertheless, of continuing social and political importance.

Opera development around Europe and beyond

ITALY

Early Opera

There was always argument about who composed the first opera. Some of his contemporaries regarded the Roman composer Cavalieri’s La rappresentatione di anima e di corpo (The Representation of Soul and Body), from 1600, as the first true example. Written for the Oratorian movement of St Philip Neri, and with a dramatic content recalling that of medieval morality plays, combining drama with the new music, the work had some claim to priority. Allegorical figures dispute in a work that seeks to show the superiority of the spiritual. The composer himself claimed to have been the first to unite music and drama in this way, although rivals claimed to have done the same things some years before.

While Cavalieri’s work entertained and edified the entire College of Cardinals in Rome, other early operas were designed as court entertainments of a more secular kind. Such works were staged, notably, for the Medici rulers in Florence and, most memorably of all, at Mantua. It was there that Monteverdi had his Orfeo staged in 1607, followed the next year by Arianna, now lost. The subject of Orfeo (Orpheus) had already been treated in Florence by the composers Peri and by Caccini. The story had an obvious relevance. The legendary musician Orpheus, grieving at the loss of his beloved Eurydice, attempts to save her from the Underworld by the power of his music and is almost successful, thwarted only at the last minute by his own doubts. Orpheus not only demonstrates the importance of music. He is also represented as a shepherd among shepherds, making it possible for the poet and composer to draw on an existing literary and musical tradition. Pastoral poems and romances were set in a conventional Arcadia, where the only troubles that arose came from the thwarted love of amorous shepherds, whose heartache often proved fatal. The Italian madrigal, the part-songs of the 16th century, often set pastoral verses, drawing on another tradition of the ancient world. Here the life of the shepherd was idealised in an urban or court view of the country, a convention that could present the ageing Queen Elizabeth of England as Oriana, Queen of the Shepherds, shortly before her death.

Opera as court entertainment continued, often under enlightened patronage. It was in Venice, in 1637, that the first public opera house was opened. Venice was a commercial republic, ruled by an oligarchy, but without a royal court. The commercial aspect of opera could here be exploited, so that by the end of the century there were seven Venetian opera houses, dominated, after the death of Monteverdi in 1643, by the composer Cavalli, followed by Legrenzi. Venetian opera, not uninfluenced at first by the opera of Rome, spread throughout Italy and to other parts of Europe. As a more popular form than early courtly opera, it offered a mixture of the serious and the comic. Monteverdi’s Orfeo had no comic relief, but his two later surviving operas, written for Venice in the early 1640s, include elements of comedy. They also followed a convention now established, that of the happy ending. There was still, as before, a strong element of spectacle, with elaborate stage machinery that allowed transformation scenes and grandiose effects, with a complementary extravagance of costume and decor. Leading composers of the later years of the 17th century and early years of the 18th also include Alessandro Scarlatti in Naples and Rome, father of the keyboard composer Domenico Scarlatti.

Early opera had involved madrigals, dramatic monody and set songs, or a mixture of these. As the 17th century went on, there developed a gradual distinction between recitative and aria. The first of these, lightly accompanied often simply by chords, follows the rhythm and stresses of speech without the formal structure of a melody. Recitative, in fact, is dialogue set to music. The aria is a song, often in a form that frames a middle section in identical outer sections, the second of which might be ornamented by the singer. While the plot may be carried forward by the recitative, the aria tends to embody one state of mind. Both had an important part to play in what followed, although audiences tended to pay more attention to arias and much less to recitative, which seemed tedious.

Opera Seria

The later years of the 17th century brought the beginnings of operatic reform. This came about partly as a result of French criticism that opera libretti were not based on the Aristotelian principles that dominated French classical tragedy, according to which the ‘dramatic unities’ of time, place and plot were to be observed. These demanded a closer connection between time in the drama and time on stage, some limit on the changes of place possible, since in Greek tragedy no change of scene was allowed, and a final unity of plot, without primitive diversion into unconnected sub-plots. Under the leadership of the librettist Apostolo Zeno in Venice, the art was purged of its comic elements. The new form, later known as opera seria, followed clear principles of classical propriety and led to a certain stylisation. There were clear categories of major and minor roles, usually for six or seven solo singers, and of the number and type of arias to be allocated to each. Subjects tended now to be historical rather than mythological. Opera seria held a central position in repertoire for three-quarters of the 18th century. It brought the rise to prominence of the castrato, now cast in the principal male roles, and allowed a similar importance and scale of fees to the prima donna, the first lady. Each would expect a similar number of arias of varied mood, sad, angry, brave or meditative, irrespective of the demands of the plot, while the secondary singers would have their own demands to make.

After Zeno the principal librettist was Metastasio, regarded as the most outstanding dramatist and poet of his time. The new libretti, the operatic texts, were set again and again by major composers of the day, including Vivaldi. The music, in fact, became relatively expendable. It was often a case of first the words, then the music. In England Handel had opera seria libretti adapted for the varied requirements of London audiences. He was followed in London, later in the century, by another German composer, Johann Christian Bach, the youngest son of old Johann Sebastian, but the art remained essentially an Italian one.

Opera Buffa

In the 18th century there was a parallel development of what was later known as opera buffa (comic opera). This had its roots in the ancient Roman comedy of Plautus and Terence and this in turn had been derived from ancient Greek New Comedy. Features of these were stock characters, comic and cunning servants, angry and parsimonious fathers, passionate lovers, amorous daughters and bragging soldiers. With them came a preoccupation with what was recognisable as ordinary life, however simplified. Another source of Italian comedy was found in the associated improvised theatre of the commedia dell’arte, with its similar array of stock characters. Opera buffa corresponded to contemporary spoken drama and opera texts owed a great deal to the work of the playwright Goldoni. Oddly enough, the earlier historical process was now reversed. In the 17th century tragedy had acquired comic elements. Now serious characters began to find a place in comic opera, which became less comic and more realistic. These more dramatically credible plots found a place in Italian operas such as those written in Vienna by Mozart and his librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte and their contemporaries.

Reform Opera

Serious Italian opera, again at first in Vienna, underwent a marked reform with the work of Gluck and the librettist Calzabigi. Between them they succeeded, largely under French influence, in introducing simplifications. The formal requirements of the old opera seria were reduced, allowing a greater degree of realism. Gluck, in fact, claimed that he made music the servant of poetry, never introducing novelties or distractions from the dramatic situation. He explained his principles clearly in his introduction to the opera Alceste, published in 1768. These had already been put into practice in 1762 with his version of the story of Orpheus, Orfeo ed Euridice (Orpheus and Eurydice).

From Rossini to Verdi

The 19th century in Italy brought some of the best-known operas of all. These are found first of all in Rossini, a master of comedy, as in Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville), in which the barber Figaro abets his master Count Almaviva in his wooing of Rosina and the gulling of her guardian, old Doctor Bartolo. Rossini also tackled more serious subjects, as in his heroic melodrama Tancredi, with its ingredients of love, jealousy, misunderstanding and final resolution either, as in the first version, in a conventional happy ending, or, as in the revised version, in the hero’s death. Tancredi provides a demanding title role characteristic of the so-called bel canto style that Rossini so much admired. This involved a fine voice and the flexibility and evenness of tone to cope with elaborately florid vocal writing.

In Italian opera Rossini was followed by Bellini and Donizetti. The former had a mastery of extended lyrical melodies, shown in the intense romanticism of operas like Norma, with its story of love and heroic self-sacrifice by the Druid priestess of the title. Donizetti showed an equally marked dramatic sense, exemplified in Lucia di Lammermoor (Lucy of Lammermoor), based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott and including what became a popular operatic element, a mad scene for the heroine. His sense of comedy is evident in L’elisir d’amore (The Elixir of Love), with its quack doctor and forlorn lover, and in Don Pasquale, the fooling of the elderly bachelor of the title by a pair of young lovers, anxious to be united. Stock characters of Italian comedy occur in both.

The 1840s brought to prominence one of the greatest of all operatic composers. Verdi held a leading position in Italian opera for some half a century and continues to dominate operatic repertoire. From Nabucco (Nebuchadnezzar) in 1842 to Falstaff in 1893 he served, as he claimed, in the galley, to produce masterpiece after masterpiece. In these he created a very personal amalgamation of current trends of increased dramatic power and cogency, influenced at times by France and at times by Germany, but always essentially Italian in his own idiom. His career coincided with the rise of Italian nationalism and often his operas suggested a contemporary relevance. This is found, for example, in the chorus of Hebrew slaves in Nabucco and in the chorus of the oppressed people of Scotland in his Shakespearian Macbeth. It was Shakespeare, whose work had a new appeal in a period of relative freedom from earlier classical convention, who inspired Verdi’s last two operas, the tragedy Otello and the fine comedy of Falstaff, based on The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Verismo and Puccini

The later years of the century brought verismo (realism), a reflection of current literary trends, in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry), a down-to-earth story of love and jealousy in a village, peasant setting, and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (Actors). This last brought to the opera a police-court murder case, in which a jealous actor had killed his faithless wife on the stage. Pagliacci provides a famous example of the dramatic treatment of drama itself, a contrast between the actor himself and the part he is forced to play.

Realism of this kind had its effect on Puccini, whose operas form a major part of modern repertoire, from Manon Lescaut and Tosca to Turandot. While he might seek the exotic in the Japanese setting of Madama Butterfly or the China of Turandot, in

Tosca, in spite of its historical setting, he presented a story of political intrigue, murder and deception of contemporary relevance. Like Verdi, Puccini too was able to provide a successful synthesis of current musical and dramatic trends.

20th Century and Beyond

Opera has, of course, continued in Italy, both in its more traditional form and in modern experiment. The story has not ended. The later 20th century and the new millennium offer obvious difficulties of succinct summary, with the general musical eclecticism that has characterised music and the other arts.

FRANCE

France has had its own dramatic and operatic tradition. While Italian opera has had some influence, affected itself by its contact with the principles of French classical drama, French opera has remained true to its own cultural and linguistic traditions.

Comédie-ballet and Tragédie lyrique

Paradoxically French opera owes its origin to a composer of Italian origin. Jean-Baptiste Lully was brought to France as a boy and as time went on established himself in a leading position in the musical life of his adopted country. In collaboration with Molière he contributed to the art of the comédie-ballet and with the poet Quinault he created the French five-act tragédie lyrique, itself indebted both to earlier French forms of ballet and drama and to Italy. Lully came to hold a dominant position, with a royal monopoly that gave him control over music in the theatre. While it is now usual to perform Molière’s comedies without their music or their ballet, the plays were originally conceived with a closely related element of dance and music. Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, for example, which has had other more recent musical offshoots, finds a natural place for music as Monsieur Jourdain, the nouveau riche of the title, tries to acquire the arts of a gentleman. In addition to the comic musical episodes of his singing lesson and the scene in which he is supposedly ennobled by a Turkish Mufti, there is a final comic ballet for a mixture of French, Spanish, Italian and other dancers and singers. The form was stifled when Lully claimed ownership not only of the music but of the texts and succeeded in exercising intolerable control over Molière’s collaboration with another composer.

The tragédie lyrique created by Lully and the poet Quinault was not necessarily tragic but it was, at least, serious in its treatment of subjects usually drawn from mythology. The tradition was continued by composers such as Campra and Charpentier and resumed with signal success by Rameau from the 1730s onwards. These operas, however, have never found a place in international repertoire. They belonged essentially to the French court of the ancien régime and often had political relevance in prologues that praised the King and plots that reflected recent royal successes.

Opéra Comique

As in Italy, comic opera itself developed from more popular sources in the 18th century, notably from the Paris Fair Theatres, the Foires. Here existing tunes were often used for new words, as they were to be in The Beggar’s Opera in England. Travelling companies of players and the actors of the Italian theatre played an important part in the development of a form that mixed speech and music and closely involved a popular audience. As the century went on, what had often been a coarse form of entertainment developed into something much more acceptable to the educated. Writers like Favart and the social philosopher Rousseau turned to simple country life for their plots, although the picture they offer is highly idealised.

The 1750s brought the famous quarrel between those who favoured the Italian opera and those who held to older French traditions. This revived a deep-seated opposition between the French and the Italian that had occurred 100 years before, when the Italian-born Cardinal Mazarin was blamed by politicians for the high cost of Italian opera that he had had staged in Paris and was forced into exile. Now, in 1752, an Italian company presented a series of Italian shorter, lighter-hearted intermezzos in Paris with reasonable success. The literary war that arose, known as the Querelle des Bouffons, was initiated by the German diplomat and critic, Baron Friedrich Melchior von Grimm, at one time a friend of the Mozarts. He had harsh comments to make on French opera and was later joined in his strictures by Rousseau. Their attacks led to a series of pamphlets, espousing one side or the other. While the Italian troupe engaged at the Opéra duly left Paris in 1754, Italian influence remained, to lead to a new form of French comic opera of greater musical and dramatic interest.

Reform and Revolution

In the 1770s Gluck’s reformed opera was introduced to Paris, treating very differently the kind of subjects that had been the substance of the tragédie lyrique. French versions of his earlier Italian operas, already staged in Vienna, were now mounted in Paris. Gluck was able, in fact, to show a new compromise. The subjects of his operas might be drawn from classical mythology and legend, like the subjects chosen by Lully, but these were treated in a modern way. The operas were less stylised and very much more dramatic in their effect. At the same time the form of so-called opéra comique could also turn its attention to more serious subjects, as comic opera had in Italy, catering largely for a new middle-class audience. The period before the Revolution also brought the building of provincial opera houses, where such works would provide the general repertoire.

The Revolution brought obvious changes. French serious opera, in the form of the tragédie lyrique, was essentially associated with the monarchy, and had, in any case, been affected by the Paris operas of Gluck, with their new element of dramatic realism. The 1790s, however, demanded work of revolutionary relevance. This trend lasted only a short time. The new century brought a reorganisation of opera throughout the country under Napoleon, who instituted reforms in the opera in Paris itself, exercising a limiting control over all theatres. Under the restored Bourbon monarchy opera flourished. The period saw the success in Paris of Rossini and his operas written for the French stage. At the same time there was a continuation of the opéra comique by composers like Auber, Halévy, Berlioz and Bizet. Subjects varied from the light-hearted to the tragically serious, with productions at the Opéra-Comique, the company established in 1714, distinguished from those at the Opéra, the leading official company, by their less formal requirements. French opéra comique, in the 19th century at least, does not have to be comic; the descriptive term indicates a much wider category of work.

Grand Opéra

From the later 1820s Paris saw the creation of operas of greater pretensions in the grand opéra staged by the Opéra itself. These operas, which reach a height of grandeur and spectacle in the work of Meyerbeer, were held in the highest esteem. The first grand opéra, in 1828, was Auber’s La Muette de Portici (The Dumb Girl of Portici), followed in 1829 by Rossini’s last opera Guillaume Tell (William Tell). From Meyerbeer came Le Prophète (The Prophet), Les Huguenots (The Huguenots) and L’Africaine (The African Maid). These involved elaborate and complex spectacle. The scenery offered a degree of realism and often of grandeur. Crowd scenes allowed the chorus to act, rather than stand in formal poses, while music added to general effect. Examples of grand opéra retain in themselves their own place in operatic history but also deserve attention for the effect they had on other opera on a similarly grand and spectacular scale, works by Verdi and by Wagner. Socially the Opéra was important. Its magnificence reflected the growing wealth and prosperity of the country and of its upper classes.

The Opéra-Comique

French opera continued in the 19th century with the official company known as the Opéra-Comique, itself derived from the tradition of the same name and allowing more freedom in choice of subject and treatment. The company had been established early in the preceding century, derived from the performances of the Paris Fairs. It had amalgamated with the Paris Italian Theatre and then with other establishments offering similar repertoire. In particular, the Opéra-Comique, in the various theatres in which it performed, allowed some spoken dialogue. Outstanding examples of works staged by the Opéra-Comique include Gounod’s Faust and Bizet’s Carmen. Neither of these, of course, is a comedy. In Gounod’s opera Faust sells his soul to the Devil, a bargain from which he is finally rescued by the intervention of the spirit of the girl he has seduced. Carmen is a story of low life in Spain, a tale of criminals, jealousy and murder that has much in common with Italian verismo. The tradition continued with some of the operas of Massenet, a composer of importance in the last part of the 19th century. His Manon, in which the heroine is convicted of immorality and transported, to die in the American desert, was staged by the Opéra-Comique, as was his treatment of the story of Cinderella, Cendrillon.

Opéra Bouffe

It would be impossible to leave Paris without mention, at least, of the genre of French opéra bouffe in the second half of the 19th century. This owes its name to Jacques Offenbach and is very much lighter in style than the comedies of opéra comique, which, by comparison, grew in seriousness of purpose. Best known of Offenbach’s works in this form is Orphée aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld). This mocks the serious legend tackled earlier by Monteverdi and by Gluck, among many others. Now Orpheus is glad to be rid of Eurydice, while she is quite happy to enjoy herself in the Underworld, where the Blessed Spirits have greeted her with a spirited can-can. Opéra bouffe is light-hearted operetta, designed to satirise and to entertain. As such it seems typical of the French Second Empire, the period of Napoleon III, brought to a disastrous end in the defeat at Sedan in 1870.

20th Century and Beyond

The new century brought various changes. The traditional form of opéra comique had come to involve itself in more serious subjects, and composers understandably preferred other descriptive titles for works that lacked any trace of comedy. The early years brought Debussy’s remarkable Pelléas et Mélisande, based on the play by Maurice Maeterlinck, set in an impressionistic pre-Raphaelite world. Other French operas reflected the interests and trends of the day. Ravel collaborated, after the First World War, with the writer Colette in his delightful L’Enfant et les sortilèges (The Child and the Magic Spells), in which a naughty child is tormented by his victims. Darius Milhaud collaborated with Paul Claudel in Christophe Colomb (Christopher Columbus) and Francis Poulenc with the surrealist poet Guillaume Apollinaire in Les Mamelles de Tirésias (The Breasts of Tiresias). Later in life he was to tackle the weightier subject of religious martyrdom in Dialogues des Carmélites (Carmelite Dialogues), while Olivier Messiaen turned to the life of St Francis for a subject.

GERMANY & AUSTRIA

The many courts of Germany and of the Habsburg Empire and its capital Vienna were open to influence from both Italy and France. It was, indeed, one of the achievements of great German composers of the late Baroque period to bring about their own synthesis of Italian, French and German. This is heard in one form in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and in another in the music of Handel. While Hamburg, even in Handel’s brief time there, found a place for German-language opera, it was, in general, Italian opera that predominated. In Vienna the Emperor Joseph II attempted, principally in the 1780s, to establish a German opera, the National-Singspiel. It was to this that Mozart contributed his successful Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio), but the Emperor’s early attempts were unsuccessful.

Singspiel

The traditional German Singspiel had had a longer history, parallel to the popular comedy of Italy and France. As in those countries, the division between the purely popular and the more formal and literary comedy diminished. This led to a form of German-language comic opera, with some spoken dialogue, on a variety of subjects. In some, like Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), elements of earlier popular comedy continue. The comic bird-catcher Papageno is one of a long line of such characters, an ordinary man set in the most extraordinary surroundings. Comedy lies, as always, in the inappropriate situation and the down-to-earth reaction to it.

Singspiel continued also in a serious vein, reflecting the parallel developments in Italy and France, as well as in German theatre, with its middle-class drama, if one may so translate the word bürgerlich (bourgeois), without giving it a pejorative meaning. Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, first staged in Vienna in 1805, deals in generally serious terms with a loyal wife’s attempt to rescue her imprisoned husband. Carl Maria von Weber’s work Der Freischütz (The Marksman), still a Singspiel in its language and elements of spoken dialogue, includes all the elements of German romanticism and leads the way forward to full-blown German Romantic opera.

German Romantic Opera

Vienna brought together Italian opera and German Singspiel. Gluck and his librettist Calzabigi had brought about a reform, influenced, in some respects, by French theatre and in some works by the opéra comique. Here, as in the major cities in Germany, two forms of opera co-existed, the Italian and the German. The 19th century, however, with all its political and cultural changes, gave a new impetus to German opera, not only to Beethoven and to Weber, but to composers like Marschner, Spohr and Lortzing.

Richard Wagner

Towering over his contemporaries in ambition and achievement, Richard Wagner introduced, from the 1840s onwards, new musical and dramatic conceptions of the art of opera or music drama. At first he added to the existing Romantic tradition in Der fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), Tannhäuser and Lohengrin. The first of these tells of the ghostly Dutch sea-captain, fated to sail with his phantom crew until redeemed by a woman’s disinterested love. Tannhäuser turns to the medieval poet of that name and his temptation by the worldly pleasures offered by the Mount of Venus, while Lohengrin offers a story derived from the legends of the Knights of the Grail. It was, however, with his tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung), ParsifalTristan und Isolde (Tristan and Isolde) and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremberg) that he created a new and comprehensive art form. While the last of these praises true German art in a plot based on the activities of the Mastersingers of the 16th century, The Ring is a massive conception dealing with the superhuman. The four works, to be performed on successive nights in the theatre Wagner built in Bayreuth, are closely interwoven, related by recurrent themes and fragments of themes associated with ideas and characters in the drama. The plot of this massive operatic cycle is derived from Teutonic legend, stories of the old gods and the final destruction of their Valhalla.

Operetta

Operetta seems typical of Vienna in the later 19th century, exemplified by the music of Johann Strauss, in works such as Die Fledermaus (The Bat), with its light-hearted intrigue and attempted marital deception. The tradition of operetta found other champions in composers like Franz von Suppé, and then, leading into the new century, in Franz Lehár and his contemporaries, with parallel success in Berlin. By the 1920s, however, the formula had worn thin, gradually to be replaced by musical comedy.

After Wagner

While Wagner may overshadow his immediate successors, his influence was enormous, reflected in the operas of Humperdinck and even, however reluctantly, of his pupil, Wagner’s son Siegfried Wagner. Humperdinck’s operas continue to explore a German world, but rather one of the Grimm Brothers’ fairy-tales than of gods and heroes. In 1893 Humperdinck won his first success with his opera Hänsel und Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), following this with other fairy-tale operas. Siegfried Wagner turns to weightier German legends in a series of operas that are only now finding an audience.

Richard Strauss

The true successor of Wagner is Richard Strauss, particularly in the remarkable series of operas in which he collaborated with the writer Hugo von Hofmannsthal, after the earlier success of Salome, based on Oscar Wilde’s play of that name. Wilde’s work had been banned in England, and Salome as an opera suggested new realms of sensuality to be explored, both dramatically and musically. Elektra in 1909 was followed by the moving nostalgia of Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose), a work of comedy and poignancy, an autumnal reflection of a mood of the time, set in the age of Mozart. Strauss continued after Hofmannsthal’s death in collaboration with Stefan Zweig and others. His last opera, Capriccio, was first staged in Munich in 1942. His debt to Wagner may be seen as musical rather than dramatic, reflected in orchestration and harmony.

The Weimar Republic and National Socialism

The intervention of National Socialism had, in opera as elsewhere, an immensely damaging effect on the general creativity of German opera. The 1920s had brought a period of experiment, often outrageous enough in its defiance of tradition. Composers like Franz Schreker had explored the exotic world opened by Strauss’s Salome. He was dismissed from his position in Berlin and died in 1934. Other younger composers like Schoenberg, Zemlinsky, Weill, Goldschmidt and Hindemith were driven into exile and often, therefore, into other forms of musical activity. America, where some took refuge, lacked the traditions of the German opera house. Kurt Weill, who had collaborated with Bertolt Brecht in Berlin in Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera), a modernised and political version of The Beggar’s Opera, turned to the American musical. Schoenberg left his great opera Moses und Aron (Moses and Aaron) unfinished. Zemlinsky did the same, never completing his last opera. Goldschmidt in England found almost as little opportunity as Hindemith in America, both having suffered from official censorship before their forced or chosen emigration. Schoenberg’s pupil Berg, however, had added his own very distinctive contribution to German opera in Wozzeck, a study of madness and murder. At the time of his death in Vienna in 1935 he left his second opera, Lulu, unfinished.

Contemporary German Opera

Germany and Austria continue to offer a fertile ground for new opera. This is encouraged by the existence of a large number of efficient provincial opera houses and a measure of enlightened public support. There have been notable new operas from composers such as Hans Werner Henze and remarkable experiment from Karlheinz Stockhausen, among others, expanding the possibilities of music theatre.

BRITAIN

England, like other European countries apart from Germany, France and Italy, lacked an established national tradition of opera until the 20th century. Henry Purcell, in the later 17th century, wrote a wealth of incidental music and contributed to a genre that recent scholars have called semi-opera, an amalgamation of spoken drama and a strong and often supernatural musical element. It was Italian opera, however, that entertained the fashionable world in the 18th century, in spite of the damaging effect of the anti-opera of John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera. This last began a new form, the English ballad opera, with its use of popular melodies. The musical borrowings, at least, must recall the practice of the Paris Fair Theatres.

19th Century

While there were English, Scottish and Irish composers of opera, there is relatively little trace of their work in continuing repertoire. Two Irish composers, however, Balfe and Wallace, are remembered, respectively, for The Bohemian Girl and Maritana, staged in London in the 1840s. Another composer of paternal Irish origin, Arthur Sullivan, survives triumphantly in his operettas, collaborations with W.S. Gilbert.

National Opera

The 20th century brought an element of national opera through Vaughan Williams, Holst and others. Their work in this form was largely for local audiences. A more markedly international school of English opera started with Britten’s opera Peter Grimes in 1945. The subject was local but its implications, as a study of an outsider in a closed community, were much wider. This was followed by a remarkable series of works, chamber operas and operas for the larger stage, culminating in Death in Venice, based on the novella by Thomas Mann.

BOHEMIA, SLOVAKIA & MORAVIA

In those parts of the Habsburg Empire that were later subsumed for much of the 20th century in Czechoslovakia there arose, with the general nationalism of the mid-19th century, national opera. This is represented in Prague by Smetana and Dvořák. Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, in its Czech village setting, is a comedy that continues in international repertoire. Dvořák’s Czech operas have travelled less satisfactorily, with language an obvious barrier. It was primarily in the second and third decades of the 20th century that the Moravian composer Janáček came to wider notice with operas that depend, in their vocal lines, on the intonations and rhythms of speech. National traditions of Czech, Slovak and Moravian opera continue.

RUSSIA

Italian opera was brought to Russia in the 18th century and Italian composers were also involved in the setting of Russian libretti. This may be seen as part of the westernising policies of Peter the Great, much as Kemal Atatürk in Turkey in the 20th century saw the introduction of opera as a concomitant part of his programme of modernisation.

Russian Nationalism

A true Russian tradition of art music was established in the 19th century. This was started by Glinka with the supposedly historical opera A Life for the Tsar, followed by Ruslan and Lyudmila, based on Pushkin and exploring more exotic, oriental elements, as Russian composers were to continue to do. Three, at least, of the five nationalist composers who made up what became known as The Five (or The Mighty Handful) made notable contributions to Russian opera. Mussorgsky achieved this, in particular, in his historical Boris Godunov and Borodin in his exotic Prince Igor. Rimsky-Korsakov may be better known abroad for his orchestral works, but he also wrote a series of important operas, ending with the exoticism of The Golden Cockerel, which, after trouble with the censors, was only staged after his death. Tchaikovsky, not one of The Five, but thoroughly Russian in his music, is known in international repertoire for two operas based on Pushkin, Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades.

Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Stravinsky

Russian opera continued in the 20th century, particularly in the work of Shostakovich, whose Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District won official condemnation. Its subject might have seemed quite acceptable to a Communist regime that believed in the social and political purpose of the arts. The opera is based on a story by Nikolay Leskov in which a young wife murders her father-in-law and, with the help of her lover, her husband, crimes for which she and her lover are punished. This certainly follows political teaching in showing the degeneracy of the capitalists at the heart of the drama. For Stalin, however, the score was chaos instead of music.

Prokofiev left Russia in 1917 and spent a number of years abroad, before finally returning home in 1936, in time for the official attack on Shostakovich. For Chicago he had written the opera The Love for Three Oranges, but his next opera, The Fiery Angel, was not performed until after the composer’s death in 1953. His most ambitious opera in Russia was the monumental War and Peace, based on Tolstoy. This was completed in 1948 but not staged until 1960.

Stravinsky, in exile from Russia, contributed to the genre in very Russian style in his earlier period, but his later opera The Rake’s Progress, however characteristic in musical idiom, belongs rather to English and American repertoire in subject and language. With a plot based on Hogarth’s series of engravings, the work is neoclassical in form and texture, combining the Rake’s progress to disaster with the legend of Faust.

AMERICA & OTHER COUNTRIES

It may seem cavalier to include the rest of the operatic world in a geographical ragbag. South America at first inherited operatic traditions from its colonial past, from Spain and Portugal. The United States also relied on European tradition but, in the 20th century in particular, went on to develop its own musical idiom. In opera this is reflected in the work of Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber and others. Most characteristic, although with no direct successors, is Gershwin’s black opera Porgy and Bess, while the expatriate Italian composer Menotti added his own very personal contribution in operas like The Medium and The Consul. Although many composers, forced into exile from Germany and German-dominated countries in Europe, found a place in the United States, there was little scope for opera. Some were able to work in Hollywood, while others, like Kurt Weill, made a dramatic contribution to the American musical in music that often had its basis in earlier operatic experience.

In Europe Spain and Portugal shared in the earlier developments of Italian opera and provided inspiration for other countries in choice of setting. The popular Spanish zarzuela, with its song, dance and spoken dialogue, has a long history, but flourished particularly in the second half of the 19th century. Composers who wrote operas drawing on national sources of inspiration include Enrique Granados, Manuel de Falla and Roberto Gerhard.

Countries of Eastern Europe have again built on national musical and cultural traditions. In Hungary Kodály offered what has been described as a Singspiel in the very Hungarian Háry János, dealing with the comic exaggerations of a boastful old soldier. His contemporary Bartók left only one opera, Bluebeard’s Castle, a work that makes greater demands on an audience. In Poland Szymanowski made his own distinctive contribution to operatic repertoire with King Roger, a medieval drama based on the Bacchae of Euripides, echoing the conflict that the philosopher Nietzsche had seen again between Apollo and Dionysus, the serenely rational and the passionately irrational. While the talents of these composers may not have been primarily operatic, all three contributed to the genre in characteristic ways.

Conclusion

The three great streams that have come together in European opera have flowed from Italy, in the first place, then from France and from Germany. The same might be said of the great body of Western art music. It was that mixture of Italian melody, French dance and German intellect and technique that created Western music as it is now known and the genre of opera that came from it. To this amalgam have been added the colours and cultural flavouring provided by other countries, with the later development of their own individual operatic traditions. Opera itself is essentially a synthesis of the arts. Its music remains a synthesis of different national cultures, absorbed and then diffused once more. Since its early development it has had its enemies, cynics who can find nothing but the ridiculous in stage performances where characters, often in extreme circumstances, sing rather than speak or scream. Yet it is arguably the highest of all arts, the sum and summit of them all, the art, as an early composer remarked, of princes.

This is just a brief summary of opera tradition and is used as a guide only.  An in-depth guide about composers and their works can be found in The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, the most comprehensive publication on the subject.

 

 

Sound Of Music Backing Tracks

Sound Of Music Backing Tracks:

sound-of-music

Sound Of Music Backing Tracks… 16 going on 17 … Climb Every Mountain… Do Re Mi… Edelweiss … How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria… I Have Confidence… Lonely Goatherd… My Favourite Things… So Long Farewell… Something Good…

The Sound Of Music is a tuneful, heartwarming story, it is based on the real life story of the Von Trapp Family singers.

Backing Tracks

16 Going On 17 - Sound Of Music
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16 going on 17

CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN - SOUND OF MUSIC
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Climb Every Mountain

Do Re Mi - Sound Of Music
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Do Re Mi

Edelweiss - Sound Of Music
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Edelweiss

HOW DO YOU SOLVE A PROBLEM LIKE MARIA - SOUND OF MUSIC
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 How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria

I HAVE CONFIDENCE - SOUND OF MUSIC
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I Have Confidence

LONELY GOATHERD - SOUND OF MUSIC
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Lonely Goatherd

MY FAVOURITE THINGS - SOUND OF MUSIC
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My Favourite Things

PROCESSION MARIA - SOUND OF MUSIC
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Processional and Maria

SO LONG FAREWELL - SOUND OF MUSIC
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 So Long Farewell

SOMETHING GOOD - SOUND OF MUSIC
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Something Good

SOUND OF MUSIC - SOUND OF MUSIC
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 The Sound Of Music

Please Put My Tracks On CD
Please Put My Tracks On CD
Add this to your cart if you require your tracks posted to you on CD.

Sheet Music:

16 GOING ON 17 - SOUND OF MUSIC Sheet Music
16 GOING ON 17 - SOUND OF MUSIC Sheet Music
MY FAVOURITE THINGS - SOUND OF MUSIC Sheet Music
MY FAVOURITE THINGS - SOUND OF MUSIC Sheet Music
SOUND OF MUSIC Sheet Music
SOUND OF MUSIC Sheet Music
The hills are alive with the sound of music. With songs they have sung for a thousand years

 

More About The Sound Of Music

It is set in Salzburg, Austria in the 1930’s.

Georg, Captain von Trapp, is widowed leaving him to find a governess to educate his children. He seeks help from the Mother Abbess of Nonnberg Abbey, who recommends a young postulant nun called Maria.

Maria is concerned at leaving the abbey to take up this position, but after meeting the seven children, she grows to like them and teaches them to sing and play – something that has been absent in their lives since their mother died.

The Captain is engaged to a Baroness, who is more interested in parties and the social life in Vienna, than befriending the Captain’s children. A party is held and the Captain and Maria end up dancing together. Maria realizes she has feelings for him, so returns to the Abbey. The von Trapp children are very upset at losing the one governess they love. Maria is also in turmoil, and seeks advice from the Mother Abbess.

Maria returns to the von Trapp household, where the Captain tells her that the wedding between him and the baroness has been called off. He admits that he has always loved Maria. They marry and leave for their honeymoon.

Whilst away, Max, a friend of the Captain, encourages the children to sing in a concert. Georg and Maria return to find that Austria is being taken over by The Nazis. Unhappy with the prospect of living under the Nazi regime and the Captain having to serve in Hitler’s forces, the von Trapp family decide to leave Austria. The family plan to escape immediately after the concert, and are pursued by the Nazis. They hide in the Abbey, and with the help of the nuns, escape to freedom over the mountains.

Clarity

Clarity 

clarity slider oct 2015 RED

The all-natural spray created by singers for singers, artists, entertainers. Also used by actors, teachers, trainers and call-centre staff.

Only fresh, locally sourced ingredients are used. There are no artificial colours, flavours, preservatives, alcohol or parabens in our sprays.

Handy pocket size 30mls (approx 70 sprays)

 

Give your voice Clarity today!

Clarity Spray 1 x 30ml
Clarity 1 x 30mls bottle. The all-natural spray created by singers for singers, artists, entertainers. Also used by actors, teachers, trainers and call-centre staff. Made in the U.K. Available in Elderberry, Honey and Lemon, or Mint flavours. Give your voice clarity today

Directions for use:

Shake before use. Spray into mouth. Use as often as required.

Created by singers for singers

The creator of Clarity, a professional singer and vocal coach, understands the fragile nature of the voice and the effects certain products can have, therefore does not use any alcohol, artificial preservatives or chemicals in the making of this spray. Clarity is designed to soothe minor irritations and hydrate the areas in need.

The secret is out. Try it and see why Clarity throat spray is now the preferred choice for people who use their voice for a living. Perfect for vocalists, singers and entertainers, actors and voice-over, call-centre staff, teachers, lecturers and sales staff.

What’s In It?

Clarity is made from only the finest, natural ingredients. Many of the ingredients are sourced locally or grown within our own walled garden in Herefordshire and are ethically harvested and processed immediately to retain the best flavours. Suitable for vegetarian or vegan use.

Ingredients:

elderberriesElderberry Flavour:

Water, Glycerine, Aloe Vera*, Elderberry Juice*, Rose Cider Vinegar* and Natural Flavours* (extracts of Liquorice, Ginger, Sage, Thyme, Rosehip, Elderflower*)

honeylemonmintcutoutHoney Lemon Flavour

Water, Glycerine, Aloe Vera*, Honey*, Lemon Juice*, Rose Cider Vinegar* and Natural Flavours* (extracts of Liquorice, Ginger, Sage, Thyme, Rosehip, Elderflower*)

mintcutoutMint Flavour

Water, Glycerine, Aloe Vera*, Rose Cider Vinegar* Spearmint Extract* and Natural Flavours* (extracts of Liquorice, Ginger, Sage, Thyme, Rosehip, Elderflower)

*organic ingredients used.

You will not find any artificial flavours, preservatives, colourings, or parabens in our products and is suitable for Vegetarians, Vegan consumers.

Allergy Advice

Although Clarity does not contain, nor is in contact during manufacture with any of the main Food Allergens that are now required to be labelled by the EU, please check the ingredient list to see if Clarity is suitable for you.

 

Clarity Spray 1 x 30ml
Clarity 1 x 30mls bottle. The all-natural spray created by singers for singers, artists, entertainers. Also used by actors, teachers, trainers and call-centre staff. Made in the U.K. Available in Elderberry, Honey and Lemon, or Mint flavours. Give your voice clarity today

 

Clarity Spray 3 Pack Supersaver 3 x 30ml
Clarity Spray 3 Pack Supersaver 3 x 30ml
Clarity Super Saver 3 Pack. The all-natural spray created by singers for singers, artists, entertainers. Also used by actors, teachers, trainers and call-centre staff. Made in the U.K. Give your voice clarity today. Select your flavour choice below.

 

Clarity Spray 6 Pack Super Saver 6 x 30mls
Clarity Spray 6 Pack Super Saver 6 x 30mls
Clarity Super Saver 6 Pack. The all-natural spray created by singers for singers, artists, entertainers. Also used by actors, teachers, trainers and call-centre staff. Made in UK. Give your voice Clarity today! Select your flavour choice below.

 

Clarity Spray 12 Pack Super Saver
Clarity Spray 12 Pack Super Saver
Clarity 12 Pack Super Saver. The all-natural spray created by singers for singers, artists, entertainers. Also used by actors, teachers, trainers and call-centre staff. Made in UK. Give your voice Clarity today! Select your flavour choice below.

Vocalzone

Vocalzone lozenges throat pastillesvocalzone-lozenges-3-pack

This is a Great Vocalzone lozenges Offer from Successful Singing.

Vocalzone Throat Lozenges 3 pack
Vocalzone Throat Lozenges 3 pack
Save money with our 3 pack deal. Free Shipping

Vocalzone throat pastilles are very popular with our customers and if you have not tried them, it often makes the difference in your performance.

Vocalzone Throat Pastilles are a unique blend of natural ingredients formulated to provide powerful relief from irritated throats caused by excessive singing, speaking or smoking.

Vocalzone is ideal for professional, amateur or karaoke singers. It is also suitable for relieving the irritation caused by excessive speaking and so may be useful to all those who often speak in public in a professional or voluntary capacity. Vocalzone can also relieve the irritation of the throat caused by smoking or the common cold.
Vocalzone is the only throat pastille available in the UK that contains Myrrh as an active ingredient. Myrrh is anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic, astringent and antimicrobial. Myrrh has been used to treat sore throats, inflamed gums, tonsillitis and mouth ulcers for thousands of years.
Highly prized by professional singers and artists who use Vocalzone Throat pastilles have combined worldwide sales in excess of one-billon records.
Current Vocalzone users include Sir Tom Jones, Katherine Jenkins, Gaz Coombs, Jonnie Owen, Bette Midler, James Hetfield, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Madonna, Calvin Harris, Tinchy Stryder, Rihanna, JME, Leonard Cohen, Jamie Oliver, etc.
Say no more! Try them for yourself and see why they are helping performances all around the world.
Vocalzone Throat Lozenges
Vocalzone Throat Lozenges
If you are a professional or amateur singer, regularly speak or present in public or rely on your voice for your livelihood Vocalzone should be part of your routine. Vocalzone Throat Pastilles are a unique blend of natural ingredients formulated to provide powerful relief from irritated throats caused by excessive singing, speaking of smoking. Get the Vocalzone habit now!
Vocalzone Throat Lozenges 3 pack
Vocalzone Throat Lozenges 3 pack
Save money with our 3 pack deal. Free Shipping
Vocalzone Throat Lozenges 6 pack
Vocalzone Throat Lozenges 6 pack
Save money with our 6 pack deal.
Vocalzone 12 Pack
Vocalzone 12 Pack
Vocalzone 12 Pack Refill

Consumer information

What Vocalzone is for

Vocalzone is recommended to help relieve throat irritation
or dryness which may occur if you have been talking,
singing or smoking excessively of if you have a cold.

Before you take Vocalzone

  • Do not take if you are allergic (hypersensitive) to any
    of the ingredients.
  • Vocalzone contains sucrose and glucose. If you have
    been told by your doctor that you have an intolerance
    to some sugars, contact you doctor before taking
    this product.

Consult your doctor

  • If you symptoms persist
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding

How to take Vocalzone

Age How Many How Often
Adults, the elderly
and children over
12 years
One pastille Repeat
every 2 hours
if required

 

Possible side effects

If you get any of these serious side effects, stop taking
Vocalzone. See a doctor at once:

  • Difficulty in breathing, swelling of the face, neck, tongue
    or throat and rash (severe allergic reactions.)
If you experience any symptoms which you think may be
due to this medicine, talk to you doctor  or pharmacist.

How to store Vocalzone

Keep out of the reach and sight of children.
Do not use after the expiry date (end of the month) printed on
the flap of the Vocalzone Packet. Store below 25oC.

What Vocalzone contains

Active ingredients: Levomenthol 1.07% w/w, Peppermint
Oil 0.54% w/w, Myrrh Tincture 1.39%v/w. Also contains:
Sucrose, Liquid Glucose, Crystal Tex 85, Vegetable Oil,
Vegetable Carbon (E153), Liquorice Extract, Beeswax,
Purfied Water.

Marketing Authorisation Holder:  Kestrel Medical Limited, Kestrel
House, 7 Moor Road, Broadstone, Dorset, BH18 8AZ, UK.

Manfacturer: Ernest Jackson & Co. Ltd, Credition, Devon, EX17 3AP, UK.
PL 18955/0001 GSL Trade Mark 129790

Celine Dion

CELINE-DIONCeline Dion

Backing Tracks:

Celine Dion: All By Myself…. A Mother’s Prayer…  Beautiful Boy… Calling You… Dance With My Father… My Heart Will Go On… The Prayer…

Céline Marie Claudette Dion, (born 30 March 1968), is a French Canadian singer who first gained international recognition in the 1980’s by winning both the 1982 Yamaha World Popular Song Festival and the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest where she represented Switzerland. She released a series of French albums during the 1980s, but then released her debut English-language album, “Unison” in 1990 which established her as a pop artist in North America and other English-speaking areas of the world.

Backing Tracks

A CAUSE - CELINE DION
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A Cause

ALL BY MYSELF - CELINE DION
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 All By Myself

ALL THE WAY - CELINE DION
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 All The Way

ALONE - CELINE DION
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 Alone

ALWAYS BE YOUR GIRL - CELINE DION
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 Always Be Your Girl

A MOTHERS PRAYER - CELINE DION
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 A Mothers Prayer

A NEW DAY HAS COME - CELINE DION
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 A New Day Has Come

AVE MARIA - CELINE DION
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 Ave Maria

A WHOLE NEW WORLD - CELINE DION
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 A whole New World

BABY CLOSE YOUR EYES - CELINE DION
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 Baby Close Your Eyes

BEAUTIFUL BOY - CELINE DION
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 Beautiful Boy

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST - CELINE DION
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 Beauty And The Beast

BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME - CELINE DION
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 Because You Love Me

BILLY - CELINE DION
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 Billy

BRAHMS LULLABY - CELINE DION
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 Brahms Lullaby

BREAKAWAY - CELINE DION
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 Breakaway

CALLING YOU - CELINE DION
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 Calling You

CALL THE MAN - CELINE DION
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Call The Man

C'EST POUR TOI - CELINE DION
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 C’est Pour Toi

CHRISTMAS EVE - CELINE DION
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 Christmas Eve

COLOUR OF MY LOVE - CELINE DION
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Colour Of My Love

COME TO ME - CELINE DION
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 Come To Me

COMMENT T'AIMER - CELINE DION
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 Comment T’aimer

D'AMOUR OU D'AMITIE - CELINE DION
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 D’amour Ou D’amitie

DANCE WITH MY FATHER - CELINE DION
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 Dance With My Father

DANS UN AUTRE MONDE - CELINE DION
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 Dans Un Autre Monde

DECLARATION OF LOVE - CELINE DION
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Declaration Of Love

DES MOTS QUI SONNET - CELINE DION
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 Des Mots Qui Sonnet

DESTIN - CELINE DION
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 Destin

DON'T SAVE IT ALL FOR CHRISTMAS DAY - CELINE DION
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 Don’t Save It All For Christmas

DREAMING OF YOU - CELINE DION
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 Dreaming Of You

EN ATTENDANT SES PAS - CELINE DION
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 En Attendant Ses Pas

EYES ON ME - CELINE DION
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 Eyes On Me

FALLING INTO YOU - CELINE DION
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 Falling Into You

FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE - CELINE DION
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 First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

GOD BLESS AMERICA - CELINE DION
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 God Bless America

GOODBYE'S THE SADDEST WORD - CELINE DION
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 Goodbye’s The Saddest Word

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE - CELINE DION
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Have You Ever Been In Love

HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE - CELINE DION
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 Here There And Everywhere

I DON'T KNOW - CELINE DION
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I Don’t Know

I DROVE ALL NIGHT - CELINE DION
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 I Drove All Night

IF I COULD - CELINE DION
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 If I Could

IF THAT'S WHAT IT TAKES - CELINE DION
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 If That’s What It Takes

IF THERE WAS ANY OTHER WAY - CELINE DION
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 If There Was Any Other Way

IF WALLS COULD TALK - CELINE DION
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If Walls Could Talk

IF WE COULD START OVER - CELINE DION
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If We Could Start Over

IF YOU ASK ME - CELINE DION
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 If You Ask Me

I HATE YOU THEN I LOVE YOU - CELINE DION
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 I Hate You Then I Love You

I KNOW WHAT LOVE IS - CELINE DION
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I Know What Love Is

I LOVE YOU - CELINE DION
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 I Love You

I'M ALIVE - CELINE DION
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I’m Alive

IMMORTALITY - BEEGEES CELINE DION
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 Immortality

I'M YOUR ANGEL - CELINE DION R KELLY
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I’m Your Angel

IN SOME SMALL WAY - CELINE DION
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 In Some Small Way

IT'S ALL COMING BACK TO ME NOW - CELINE DION
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 It’s All Coming Back To Me Now

IT'S HARD TO SAY GOODBYE - CELINE DION
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 It’s Hard To Say Goodbye

I'VE GOT THE WHOLE WORLD ON A STRING - CELINE DION
Price: £1.00
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 I’ve Got The Whole World On A String

I WANT YOU TO NEED ME - CELINE DION
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I Want You To Need Me

JE DANSE DANS MA TETE - CELINE DION
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 Je Danse Dans Ma Tete

JE NE VEUX PAS - CELINE DION
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 Je Ne Veux Pas

JE SAI PAS - CELINE DION
Price: £1.00
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Je Sai Pas

JE T'AMIE ENCORE - CELINE DION
Price: £1.00
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 Je T’amie Encore

J'ATTENDAIS - CELINE DION
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 J’Attendais

JUST WALK AWAY - CELINE DION
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Just Walk Away

L'AMOUR EXISTE ENCORE - CELINE DION
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 L’Amour Existe Encore

LE BALLET - CELINE DION
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 Le Ballet

LE LOUP - CELINE DION
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 Le Loup

LE MEMOIRE D'ABRAHAM - CELINE DION
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 Le Memoire D’Abraham

LES DERNIERS SERONT LES PREMIERS - CELINE DION
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 Les Derniers Seront Les Premiers

LET'S TALK ABOUT LOVE - CELINE DION
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 Lets Talk About Love

LIVE - CELINE DION
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Live

LOVE CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS - CELINE DION
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 Love Can Move Mountains

LOVE DOESN'T ASK WHY - CELINE DION
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Love Doesn’t Ask Why

LOVE IS ALL WE NEED - CELINE DION
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Love Is All We Need

LOVE IS ON THE WAY - CELINE DION
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 Love Is On The Way

LOVE ME BACK TO LIFE - CELINE DION
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 Love Me Back To Life

MAKE YOU HAPPY - CELINE DION
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 Make You Happy

MILES TO GO - CELINE DION
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 Miles To Go

MIRACLE - CELINE DION
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 Miracle

MISLED - CELINE DION
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Misled

MON HOMME
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 Mon Homme

MOVE ANY MOUNTAIN - CELINE DION
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 Move Any Mountain

MY HEART WILL GO ON - CELINE DION
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 My Heart Will Go On – Theme From Titanic

MY LOVE - CELINE DION
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 My Love

MY PRECIOUS ONE - CELINE DION
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 My Precious One

NATURAL WOMAN - CELINE DION
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 Natural Woman

NE PARTEZ PAS SANS MOI - CELINE DION
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 Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi

NEW DAY - CELINE DION
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New Day

NO LIVING WITHOUT LOVING YOU
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No Living Without Loving You

NOTHING BROKEN BUT MY HEART
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Nothing Broken But My Heart

O HOLY NIGHT - CELINE DION
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O Holy Night

ONLY ONE ROAD - CELINE DION
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Only One Road

ONE HEART - CELINE DION
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 One Heart

ON NE CHANGE PAS - CELINE DION
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 On Ne Change Pas

PAPILLON - CELINE DION
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 Papillon

PARLER A MON PERE - CELINE DION
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 Parler A Mon Pere

POUR QUE TU M'AIMES ENCORE - CELINE DION
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 Pour Que Tu M’aimes Encore

QUANDO ON NA QUE LAMOUR - CELINE DION
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 Quando On Na Que L’amour

REGARDE MOI - CELINE DION
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 Regarde Moi

RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU - CELINE DION
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Right In Front Of You

RIVER DEEP MOUNTAIN HIGH - CELINE DION
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 River Deep Mountain High

SEDUCES ME - CELINE DION
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Seduces Me

SEND ME A LOVER - CELINE DION
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 Send Me A Lover

S'IL SUFFISALT D'AIAMER - CELINE DION
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 Sil Suffisalt D’aimaer

SLEEP TIGHT - CELINE DION
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 Sleep Tight

SOMEDAY WHEN I STOP LOVING YOU - CELINE DION
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 Someday When I Stop Loving You

SOUS LE VENT - CELINE DION
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 Sous Le Vent

STAND BY YOUR SIDE - CELINE DION
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 Stand By Your Side

VOLE - CELINE DION
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 Surprise Surprise

TAKING CHANCES - CELINE DION
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Taking Chances

TELLEMENT J'AI D'AMOUR POUR TOI - CELINE DION
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Tellement J’ai D’amour Pour Toi

TELL HIM - B STREISAND C DION
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 Tell Him – Celine Dion/Barbra Streisand

TEN DAYS - CELINE DION
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Ten Days

THANK YOU - CELINE DION
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Thank You

THAT'S THE WAY IT IS - CELINE DION
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That’s The Way It Is

THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS DAY - CELINE DION
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The Magic Of Christmas Day

THE POWER OF LOVE - CELINE DION
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The Power Of Love

THE POWER OF THE DREAM - CELINE DION
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The Power Of The Dream

THE PRAYER - CELINE DION
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The Prayer

THE REASON - CELINE DION
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The Reason

THEN YOU LOOK AT ME - CELINE DION
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Then You Look At Me

THESE ARE SPECIAL TIMES - CELINE DION
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These Are Special Times

THINK TWICE - CELINE DION
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 Think Twice

THIS TIME - CELINE DION
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This Time

TO LOVE AGAIN - CELINE DION
£1.00
To Love Again

TO LOVE YOU MORE - CELINE DION
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To Love You More

TREAT HER LIKE A LADY - CELINE DION
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 Treat Her Like A Lady

UNFINISHED SONGS - CELINE DION
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 Unfinished Songs

US - CELINE DION
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Us

VOLE - CELINE DION
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 Vole

WATER AND A FLAME - CELINE DION
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 Water And A Flame

WHEN I FALL IN LOVE - CELINE DION
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When I Fall In Love

WHEN I NEED YOU (NBV) - CELINE DION
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When I Need You – No Backing Vocals

WHERE DOES MY HEART BEAT NOW - CELINE DION
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Where Does My Heart Beat Now

WHERE IS THE LOVE - CELINE DION
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 Where Is The Love

YOU AND I - CELINE DION
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You And I

ZIGGY - CELINE DION
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 Ziggy

ZORA SOURIT - CELINE DION
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  Zora Sourit

Please Put My Tracks On CD
Please Put My Tracks On CD
Add this to your cart if you require your tracks posted to you on CD.

Official Website

More About Celine Dion

Born the youngest of 14 children in rural Canada, Celine Dion came from an extremely musical family. Her parents were both musicians and ran a small club nearby, where the whole Dion family would gather at weekends to perform for the local community.

Celine Dion began singing on stage at the age of five, and by the time she was twelve had written a song in French that would attract the attention of personal manager Rene Angelil; later to become her husband.

Angelil was so convinced of Celine Dion’s potential that he re-mortgaged his own house to fund her debut album. By 1983, she had become the first Canadian to receive a gold record in France and in 1984 she added to her already impressive list of achievements a performance for the late Pope John Paul II when he visited Quebec.

In 1988, Celine Dion, already a superstar in her native Quebec, won the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin and shortly after cemented her international success by releasing the soundtrack to the Disney film Beauty and the Beast. This achievement earned her a number one single, an Oscar and a Grammy.

Her hit album The Colour of My Love and the single from it Think Twice topped their respective charts for five weeks running, the first time this had happened since the Beatles managed it in 1965.

Celine Dion’s most famous track My Heart Will Go On from the motion picture Titanic featured both on the album Titanic and Let’s Talk About Love, both albums selling twenty-seven million copies each.

In 1999, she decided to take a break from show business to concentrate on her family, and baby Rene-Charles was born in 2001.

2002 saw the return of Celine Dion to the limelight with her album A New Day Has Come. The following year, the singer committed herself to performing five nights a week for the next three years in her own Las Vegas show. The 90-minute extravaganza was held at the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace in a 4,000-seat arena designed especially for her show.

Five consecutive years of sell-out shows followed and after the gig came to an end, she embarked on a year-long tour of the world in 2008-2009. Dion visited 25 countries across five continents and played for millions of fans.

In  2010 twins Eddy and Nelson, named after record producer and family friend Eddy Marnay and former South Africa president Nelson Mandela, were born.

Six weeks after they were born, the twins were revealed to the world in December 2010 when they appeared on the cover of Hello! Canada with their mother. In February 2011, Celine Dion and her family arrived in Las Vegas ahead of her return to the Colosseum in Caesars Palace, where a three-year residency for seventy shows a year, beginning on 15 March 2011, was due to begin.

Celine Dion also achieved a new milestone when she performed at the 83rd Academy Awards, a record sixth time she was gracing the stage at the high profile event.

On January 14, 2016, Angélil lost his battle with cancer and passed away at the age of 73 in the family’s Las Vegas home.

Celine Dion remains a popular entertainer and is the second-highest earning musician in history.

Adele

AdeleAdele

Backing Tracks:

Adele: Chasing Pavements… Hello… Hometown Glory… Rolling In The Deep… Skyfall… To Make You Feel My Love…

Born Adele Laurie Blue Adkins on May 5, 1988 in Enfield, North London. She came from a non-musical, but supportive family. She knew it was her destiny to be a singer. “As soon as I got a microphone in my hand, when I was about 14, I realised I wanted to do this,” she later recalled. “Most people don’t like the way their voice sounds when it’s recorded. I was just so excited by the whole thing that I wasn’t bothered what it sounded like.”

Backing Tracks

CHASING PAVEMENTS - ADELE
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 Chasing Pavements

COLD SHOULDER - ADELE
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 Cold Shoulder

DAYDREAMER - ADELE
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 Daydreamer

DON'T YOU REMEMBER - ADELE
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Don’t You Remember

HELLO - ADELE
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Hello

HE WON'T GO - ADELE
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He Won’t Go

HIDING MY HEART - ADELE
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Hiding My Heart

HOMETOWN GLORY - ADELE
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 Hometown Glory

I CAN'T MAKE YOU LOVE ME - ADELE
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 I Can’t Make You Love Me

I FOUND A BOY - ADELE
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I Found A Boy

I'LL BE WAITING - ADELE
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I’ll Be Waiting

I MISS YOU - ADELE
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I Miss You

LOVE IN THE DARK - ADELE
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Love In The Dark

LOVE SONG - ADELE
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Love Song

MILLION YEARS AGO - ADELE
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Million Years Ago

ONE AND ONLY - ADELE
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One And Only

PROMISE THIS - ADELE
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Promise This

REMEDY - ADELE
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Remedy

RIGHT AS RAIN - ADELE
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Right As Rain

RIVERLEA - ADELE
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 Riverlea

ROLLING IN THE DEEP - ADELE
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 Rolling In The Deep

RUMOUR HAS IT - ADELE
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 Rumour Has It

SEND MY LOVE - ADELE
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Send My Love To Your New Lover

SET FIRE TO THE RAIN - ADELE
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 Set Fire To The Rain

SKYFALL - ADELE
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Skyfall

SOMEONE LIKE YOU - ADELE
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 Someone Like You

SWEETEST DEVOTION - ADELE
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 Sweetest Devotion

TAKE IT ALL - ADELE
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Take It All

TO MAKE YOU FEEL MY LOVE - ADELE
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 To Make You Feel My Love

TURNING TABLES - ADELE
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 Turning Tables

WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE - ADELE
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Water Under The Bridge

WHEN WE WERE YOUNG - ADELE
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When We Were Young

Please Put My Tracks On CD
Please Put My Tracks On CD
Add this to your cart if you require your tracks posted to you on CD.

More On Adele

After graduating from BRIT school (that had also graduated famous names like Amy Winehouse, Kate Nash and Leona Lewis), in May 2006, Adele toured around with affiliates Jamie T, Jack Penate, and Davendra Banhart.  Through Jamie T’s indie label, Pacemaker Records, she released an album called “Hometown Glory”. By this time, Adele was already a commodity for music executives that many have tried to sign a contract with her. It was XL Recordings that finally met the line.

Adele released her debut album,”19” in U.K. through the label in January 2008. The LP went straight to number one on U.K. Albums chart, thanks to the popularity of its lead single “Chasing Pavements” that also received a unique music video. The album was then prepared for U.S. market with the release date set on June 10, 2008.

In 2009, she was nominated for four Grammys and won two of them: Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Two years later, she dropped a second album “21”on January 19 in the U.K. “I’m very excited, nervous, eager, anxious but chuffed to announce my new album! It’s taken a while and it knocked me for six when writing it,” she said of the new release. “It’s different from ’19’, it’s about the same things but in a different light. I deal with things differently now. I’m more patient, more honest, more forgiving and more aware of my own flaws, habits and principles. Something that comes with age I think. So fittingly this record is called ’21’. The whole reason I called my first album ’19’ was about cataloguing what happened to me then and who I was then, like a photo album you see the progression and changes in a person throughout the years.”

“21” then became Adele’s biggest album to date. It ruled the Billboard Hot 200 chart for multiple weeks and earned the singer a total of six Grammys at the 2012 Grammy Awards, including the coveted Album of the Year. It additionally spawned several hit singles that dominated Billboard Hot 100, including “Someone Like You”, “Rolling in the Deep”, “Set Fire to the Rain” and “Turning Tables”.

Later that year, Adele confirmed that she’d written “Skyfall” for the 23rd James Bond movie of the same title. The song went on to become another hit for the singer, debuting at No. 8 on Hot 100 and being nominated for several prestigious awards. It won the Best Original Song trophies at both the 2013 Golden Globe Award and the 2013 Oscars.

In October 2015, Adele’s fans finally got the first taste of the album, which was eventually announced as “25”. A snippet of the first single “Hello” was premiered during a commercial break on U.K.’s “The X-Factor”. The song was released in full a few days later, along with its music video.  It became the fastest selling album of 2015 in just one week.

Official Website