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Hayley Westenra Teams Up With Ennio Morricone

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Hayley Westenra
Hayley Westenra

Still at the tender age of 23, New Zealand born soprano Hayley Westenra celebrates ten incredible years in the music industry with the release of her fifth studio album, Paradiso - a collaboration that sees master Italian composer Ennio Morricone working with a vocalist for the first time.

With a CV that belies her 23 years, having performed with Jose Carreras through to Andrea Bocelli and touring North America with Il Divo, Hayley is now realising her dream of working with Morricone.

Well known for his iconic film scores including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West, Morricone received an honorary Academy Award for his contribution to the art of film music in 2007 and is regarded as one of the most prolific and influential composers of his era.

Despite the 60-year-age difference and distinct language barrier, Westenra and Morricone struck up an incredible bond whilst recording Paradiso with Ennio's orchestra in Rome last summer. This is, after all, the first time 83 year-old Morricone has added a vocal line to his compositions.

The album features an array of new compositions written by Morricone for Hayley, as well as some of his best-known film compositions of the last 50 years. With Ennio making new bespoke arrangements for every track, he produced all of Hayley's vocal performances, as well as conducting each session with his own 120-piece orchestra - Sinfonietta di Roma.

Recorded last year at the Forum studio in Piazza Euclide - the very studio where Ennio has recorded his countless classic film scores with his multi Grammy-winning engineer Fabio Venturi - Paradiso showcases Hayley singing in English, Italian, French, Portuguese and Vocalese.

Says Hayley - "Growing up, I unknowingly listened to a great deal of Ennio Morricone's magnificent music, such as the haunting melodies of 'Cinema Paradiso' and 'The Mission'. To one day realise that all these pieces were the work of just one man blew my mind. Ennio Morricone is a musical genius and I still can't quite believe that I'm collaborating with him on a whole album."

This is the first time ever Ennio has allowed - and in Hayley's case encouraged - anyone to write new lyrics for his classic themes such as for Gabriel's Oboe (Whispers In A Dream) - the theme from the 1986 film classic, The Mission. Hayley has also written English lyrics to two more of the album's tracks: La Califfa and the album's final track, Malena.

Oscar winning lyricist Don Black and Sir Tim Rice and Marilyn and Alan Bergman have all also contributed lyrics to this album.

Dickon Stainer, Managing Director for Decca Records, on the collaboration - "It's a match made in heaven - a true legend of film music collaborating with the purest voice in the world".

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