Bol.com or have bought it by now, you might have seen it: the AmiraFans review, which we already submitted on April 4th. For the ones among you who still need to be convinced to purchase a copy of the CD, please find below the official AmiraFans review of Amira’s first CD.
Of course we’ve come to know Amira Willighagen as the Netherlands’ youngest opera talent, straight from Holland’s Got Talent 2013. But next to the arias O Mio Babbino Caro and Nessun Dorma, this CD also contains more religious compositions such as the beautiful Ave Maria, or Pie Jesu. Also the wonderful Song To The Moon from Antonin Dvorak’s opera Rusalka and Ennio Morricone’s Nella Fantasia are interpreted fabulously by this young singer. So, also for the people who don’t neccesarily like classical (or rather opera) music, the album Amira really offers a lot of listening enjoyment. Lovely to listen and dream away…
On this CD, Amira is accompanied by the Prague City Philharmonic Orchestra and the St. Joseph Youth Choir, ensuring a great, not too heavy musical accompaniment and a wonderful and very harmonic choir.
All in all I can only say that, without doubt, there will be very experienced vocalists who will be able to sing the titles on this CD in a better way, but A. this is purely a matter of taste and B. we should never forget that Amira recorded this CD when she was only 9 years old, which for sure can be called something unique.
If you buy this CD, you directly help Amira with her charity project. Already as a 7-year-old, Amira already noticed that it’s not obvious that all children have a good place to play, close to their home just like the kids in the Netherlands have. She decided that, should she ever get the possibility, she would help those children. Amira donates half of the CD-revenue into her own charity project to build playgrounds. In the township of Ikageng (near Potchefstroom in South-Africa) she already opened the first playground in early March, and she wants much more! Besides a promising vocal talent, Amira Willighagen is also a Girl on a Mission!
At 76 years old I still cry everytime I hear the first HGT audition “O mio babbino caro”.
And, David Roberts, you are not the only senior citizen to do so. This one’s revisiting of that unbelievable debut must be nearing the three-figure mark, and seldom is there a dry eye in the house.
Best voice on the planet.Not technically but I don’t expect perfection.I listen on a very expensive Klispsch system,mabey this explains some of what I hear.
Well, I agree with you. I’ve just downloaded “Merry Christmas” and listened to it twice. (This is additional to my hard copy, which is presumably still in the mail). It’s everything the previews promised, and more. Her power is even all the way down to the lower register; and the richness now in Amira’s voice also extends over the full range of her voice in this album; there are simply not words to do it justice. Thank you, Amira!
Amira’s debut album is a priceless record of her exquisite nine year old voice which can never be repeated, and a treasure for that reason. But it is, to me, much more than that; let me explain:
One still reads occasional comments on her vibrato, some saying “too much”, others expressing concern that it indicates stress, and therefore a hazard of damage to her voice. It may, therefore, be appropriate to comment on this aspect. I do so, not from any expertise, but from observations that anybody can verify:
It was obvious (and impressive) from her initial audition that she has a natural vibrato – no jaw-waggling such as some of her contemporaries need to use. Further, one has only to listen to the first three tracks on her album, to realise that she has complete control over her vibrato; she uses it in the first track fairly liberally; in the second it is almost entirely absent in the sustained high notes; and in the third track she uses it selectively to add brilliance or emphasis where she sees fit. I am no singer, so I have no idea how she does this – but it seems to me to be a further facet to her incredible natural talent.
How far back does this ability go? It is only recently that there have been adequate English translations of her singing at home, in the week after the first audition (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu4jWoMsA_I ) – but in this, Amira has the final word – “I just add a little vibrato”. So this ability pre-dates the initial audition – and therefore any coaching or training. If THAT’s not talent, I don’t know what is!
So, the comments on Amira’s vibrato are not in fact valid as comments on her voice, but rather on her interpretation. This is not a child barely able to manage her voice, but something else altogether.
Where does that take this line of reasoning? Well, Andre Rieu stated in the video of his “master class” that he was not a singing teacher, and that apart from the couple of points re breathing and sustaining the high notes, he tried to explain to Amira what she was singing. I think it a fair assumption that in the Maastricht performance, she fully understood the context of the aria, i.e. that it depicted a silly girl being melodramatic. How can a singer show that the song is melodramatic? By exaggerating the vibrato somewhat, which is exactly what Amira did in that performance.
So the available evidence in the form of HD videos, is that Amira is indeed no mere parrot; she is fully capable of giving the work an appropriate dramatic interpretation. She did it again in her performance of Ombra mai fu at the Grebbeberg concert; the libretto might be about the shade of a plane tree, but Amira’s performance of it gave it quite a different feeling, deeply moving and entirely appropriate to the occasion.
I stand in awe of both her talent and her interpretation. Both are still evolving, and we need to be patient whilst that happens; and pronunciation and breath support will also develop – but I would not call her beautiful voice “angelic”; I call it astounding.
I only hope Sony are exercising their contract rights to accumulate her performances for a DVD.
Dafydd, I found your review and comments on Amira’s first CD very informative and helpful – thank you. You highlighted that because Amira’s voice is exceptional and powerful, it’s important to try to listen to her CDs with equipment that allows the full sound to be heard, with no distortion. I am very much looking forward to hearing her second CD in a few days, using a hifi with good speakers. So far, I’ve heard a downloaded version, which does sound excellent… But I expect there is even more fullness to be enjoyed! Thanks again.
I like this CD very much; an excellent classical selection and really beautiful singing. If you value the wonderful music for its own value and a superb clear voice, rather than the emotive aspects of the story line, I doubt you could find a better performance than this.
I should like to add to my previous comment, a couple of observations: I have seen comments to the effect that the balance in her album between Amira’s voice and the orchestra is too biassed towards the orchestra. I had this same trouble, until I went into my sound management system and turned off the “hearing damage protection”. Amira’s voice has, unless I am very much mistaken, a very powerful “quillo” (singer’s formant) which means powerful overtones in the general area of 2500 to 3500 Hz; and these may be causing the “hearing damage protection” software to attenuate her voice. This is no criticism of Amira’s voice; on the contrary it makes her talent all the more remarkable. This became evident to me because I purchased the DVD of Andre Rieu’s 2014 Maastricht concert, in order to have a permanent record of Amira’s performance; being of very high fidelity, the overtones were evident because they overloaded the less-than optimum headphones I was using, producing a metallic buzz – this may be the cause of the entirely unwarranted occasional criticism one reads of Amira’s voice, especially from JE fans – who are not used to a voice with such powerful overtones. It may also explain the urgings of Oliverone Looloo that one should if possible hear Amira live. (I wish I could); you do not get these overtones at their full value, via the internet, even in the HD versions. I also suspect, but cannot prove, that these overtones have a lot to do with the remarkable emotional impact of Amira’s singing on her audiences. I hope these observations may assist people to get as much pleasure from Amira’s album as it gives me. These aspects may need to be taken into account in the making of future albums.
South Africa, Vegas, …., and France is when ??
I enjoy listening to the cd loop Amira but this is not enough.
In Nantes there is a great auditorium where it will be a magical moment to hear this beautiful voice ….
Please, princess come quickly
(original French message:) Afrique du sud, Vegas,…., et la France c’est quand??
J’ai le plaisir d’écouter en boucle le cd d’Amira mais cela ne suffit pas.
A Nantes il y a un super auditorium ou ce serai un moment magique d’entendre cette voix magnifique….
S’il te plait princesse vient vite
C’est vrai, moi aussi je suis fan, et j’aimerais la voir à Mallorca
Amira you are a star that will shine forever . You have an outlook on life that sets you above stars twice and three times your age they buy cars houses things they do not need .You have chosen to give to the children of strangers . Children you do not know you seek no fame from this just knowing you have done is all you look for. Your voice will let you do all you long to do and may this gift last your life time God bless and keep you safe Amira. David your fan in the UK hope to see you on stage hear soon.