Marc Martel and Jonathan Cilia Faro
Marc Martel keeps you guessing at what he might take on next with his latest, Forte, a duets album with Italian opera singer Jonathan Cilia Faro. The five-track EP is a pop/classical crossover project aiming for a broader international audience than his already large Queen fanbase, showcasing a mix of styles and languages. Indeed five different languages are employed throughout the album, including English, Italian, French, Spanish and German. Martel, having dipped a toe in opera a few years ago with his viral video “The Mercurotti” (in which he shaved one side of his beard and performed the Puccini aria “Nessun Dorma” while emulating two of his favorite singers: Freddie Mercury and Luciano Pavarotti), is no stranger to singing in languages other than his native tongue. Not not to mention, he is already bilingual, having grown up in Québec.
The title, Forte, is a nod to the collaboration between the two artists, bringing their respective strengths to the project, leaning on one another’s expertise in very different musical worlds. “I’ve always wanted to do a version of “Barcelona,” but didn’t know anyone who could do justice to what Monserrat Caballé sang opposite Freddie Mercury. Jonathan’s classical training enables him to take on that challenge with a lot of grace. Never mind the huge undertaking of the orchestration, which also gave me the chance to enlist the incredible talents of David Hamilton, who I’ve wanted to team up with ever since meeting him as Michael W. Smith’s band leader on our 2019 Christmas tour.”
The project has given both artists the ability to record songs not possible on their own. Much like “Barcelona,” the international juggernaut “Miserere,” (which ignited Andrea Bocelli’s explosion onto the scene in the early 90s) was also written specifically for two styles of singing: opera and rock. “These massive songs that I’ve loved for so long are now possible to record and perform, with Marc’s help,” says Faro.
Queen fans will rejoice that of Forte’s five tracks, two are plucked from Freddie Mercury’s repertoire, including Brian May’s heart wrenching “Too Much Love Will Kill You.” And more traditional-minded music lovers will delight in Martel and Faro’s more impassioned version of “Nessun Dorma” in which Martel sings for the first time in German.
The track list ties up with a tribute to the strong women in Martel and Faro’s lives. “Non, je ne regrette rien,” (“No, I do not regret anything”) originally recorded by Edith Piaf, one of the very musical pillars of French culture.
- Non, rien de rien
- Too Much Love Will Kill You
- Nessun Dorma