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Vivica Genaux offers rare vocal ‘Pyrotechnics’

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Halfway through college, she switched to singing, transferring to the University of Indiana’s arts school in Bloomington as a soprano, eventually becoming more comfortable as a mezzo.

In 2002 came her breakthrough — the Grammy-nominated album "Arias for Farinelli," the infamous "castrato" who was the rock star of his time, improvising on melodies as one does in jazz.

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Farinelli’s voice was a force of nature. And so is Genaux’s, critics says.

"Onstage, she’s a powerhouse," says David Shengold, a music critic who writes for New York-based Opera News and London’s Opera, the world’s leading magazines on the subject. "Her florid work — fast coloratura with clean runs, trills and wide, accurate skips — makes for bold, astonishing vocalism."

There’s one quality that Genaux lacks, though: the elitism many people associate with classical music.

"Come, wear jeans, rip holes in the jeans, put on the worst pair of tennis shoes," she says. "But come and see ... come experience something new!"

Online: http://vivicagenaux.com/

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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