Claudio Simonetti - Opera OST [Rustblade - 2017]
Here we have the 30th Anniversary reissue of the soundtrack for Dario Argentoís arty & Gothic 80ís Giallo based in an opera house. The release blends together the dramatic & often sleek synthetic score from Claudio Simonetti, a few slices of 1980ís metal, and a selection of eight bonus tracks.
This reissue appears on Italian label Rustblade- who since the early 2000ís have been releasing a mix of reissues, and new albums taking in all manner of experimental music from releases from Merzbow, through to albums from Lydia Lunch. The release comes in three formats- a white vinyl edition, a Limited Box Edition of 199 Copies, which features CD, Colored Vinyl Plus Gatefold Poster By Lola Airaghi, 2 Postcards, Silver Postcard, Special Original Big Envelope, Black Bag, Pin, Black Crow Feather. And a CD version. Iím reviewing the CD version of the release.
Released in 1987 Opera is often seen as the last great Argento film- which I personally disagree with as I think they have been later gems too. The film plot tells of young up & coming opera singer Betty- who gets her big chance to star in a Verdi's Macbeth when the previous star is run over by a car. Fairly soon people connected with her start getting killed off one by one, in that stylized & arty Argento way.
This reissue in all takes in eighteen tracks- ten from the original soundtrack, and eight bonus tracks which take in remixes, demo versions of album tracks, and early 2000's live renditions. Package wise the CD version is a fairly bare-bones affair - as itís just a four-panel digipak illustrated with poster art & a selection of stills, and no inlay booklet.
The soundtrack itís self is very much a product of the mid-to-late 1980ís. The Simonetti tracks take up the lion share of the original soundtrack- taking in eight of the ten tracks. These take in the opening/ title theme which is a blend of ornate piano, synthetic strings, and soaring female operatic vocalizing. Up-beat & dramatic mixers of pulsing & flamboyant neoclassical meets synth pop work-out. Up-front 80ís electro beats meet moody synthetic orchestration focused ambience. And semi-ethnic synth-pop meets light rock work-outs. On the whole, the Simonetti tracks are enjoyable & serviceable enough, through thereís nothing here really distinctive or ground-breaking- if you compare it to the previous soundtracks Simonetti had done for Argento( both with Goblin & on his own).
The other two tracks on the original soundtrack come from Italian heavy metal band Gow (recording under the name of Steel Grave for the soundtrack). These are both fairly standard late 80ís metal fare, and both have a punchy sub Maiden euro power metal feel to them. They are ok in the context of the soundtrack, but are really nothing very distinctive or different from similar bands of the time.
On the whole, itís certainly nice to have this back in print, though I wish there could have been a bit more effort on the CDís packaging- maybe a booklet that could have in an interview with Simonetti & Argento. I guess if youíre a collector & like vinyl, then the deluxe or stand alone vinyl would be a better option. If youíre after CD, then donít expect much beyond bare-bones packaging & you wonít be disappointedRoger Batty