A surprise is always unexpected. That is why it is a surprise. And the surprise I got a few days ago was something I never imagined. After all, have you ever thought of hearing Marie Osmond singing Puccini’s Nessun Dorma? And with the Prague Symphony Orchestra at that?

Nothing much is happening in the music industry here and abroad, save of course for Encanto tunes and the music industry of South Korea. So, I thought I would browse around the Net in search of new releases. And I came across Unexpected by Marie Osmond. She looked so pretty in a red dress on the cover that I decided to check it out. And that was where I found her singing the aria from Turandot, Nessun Dorma.

It was a surprise because when I think of Marie, I see a kid singing Paper Roses. I think of a pretty little girl singing with her Osmond brothers, particularly teen idol Donnie tunes like Morning Side of the Mountain and I’m Leaving It All Up to You. They also had the Donnie and Marie show on television that was quite popular. But like everybody else, they got older with time and started doing other things.

Now it turned out that Marie, who has remained active as a performer, actress, talk show host and producer, among other things, also went into voice training for opera. She proved to be so good at this that she expanded her pop repertoire with classical and soon invaded the theater. Among her many accomplishments in this area were her stints as Maria in The Sound of Music and as Anna in The King and I.

So, there was really nothing unexpected about Marie’s Unexpected. An album of opera arias and show tunes is but a natural offshoot of what she had been training for. I find it admirable that she refused to be pigeon-holed in the image, created for her as a young girl. Instead, she struck out on her own and has now successfully found her place.

Classical songs are now part of Marie’s usual repertoire. Audiences during her recent Las Vegas residency were also surprised she could sing classical and reactions were very positive. That was what led to her recording Unexpected. The album went to No. 1 in Billboard’s Classical Crossover Chart early this year.

I also find remarkable Marie’s choice of songs. The cuts are among the most popular crossover songs of all time. She left no stone unturned coming up with this list and it works wonderfully. Each song is popular and just right for her sweet but powerful soprano. She actually sounds great, a whole lot better than when she was 16. Marie is now 62 years old.

Now let us brace ourselves for what feels like a primer on Music Appreciation. Songs included are What a Wonderful World by Robert Thiele and George David Weiss; Lascia ch’lo Pianga from the opera Rinaldo by the German Baroque composer George Frideric Handel; Children Will Listen from Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim; The Flower Duet (Duo des Fleurs/ Sous le dome epais) from Lakme by the French composer of the romantic period, Leo Delibes.

Somewhere from Leonard Bernstein’s and Stephen’s West Side Story; the David Foster and Linda Thompson composition, The Prayer as a duet with Daniel Emmet; On My Own by Alain Boublil and Claude Schonberg from Les Miserables; Pie Jesu from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Dies Irae; Climb Every Mountain by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II from The Sound of Music; Nella Fantasia (Gabriel’s Oboe), which Ennio Morricone composed for The Mission.

Over the Rainbow by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg from The Wizard of Oz; Ombra Mai Fu from the opera Serse, also by Handel; If I Loved You from Carousel, also by Rodgers and Hammerstein; Song to the Moon by Anton Dvorak from the opera Rusalka and which Marie performs in the original Czech; and to close with a bit of belting, But the World Goes ‘Round by John Kander and Fred Ebb, which was introduced by Liza Minelli in New York, New York.

Unexpected derives its title from one of the most beautiful of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s compositions, Unexpected Song from the musical Song and Dance. And then, there is the stunning Nessun Dorma. Marie Osmond created an album for the ages.





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