I heard about this project of Clive Nolan's back when it was first released, but it's taken me until now to get around to getting a copy and giving it a listen. Now I'm wondering what I was waiting for! One of the best new albums I've heard in a long time. It's a 2 hour long symphonic rock opera adaptation of the classic novel She written by Henry Rider Haggard in the late 1800s. A plot synopsis of the opera can be found here.
Clive Nolan has created something really incredible here. not only did he write pretty much the whole thing and play all keyboards, he also takes on the role of one of the main characters, a lost explorer named Leo. He's joined by the Polish singer Agnieszka Swita in the role of She Who Must Be Obeyed, the 2,000-year-old power-mad god-queen, Christina Booth of Magenta as Ustane, the servant girl who falls in love with him, and Alan Reed, formerly of the band Pallas, who takes the part of his friend and fellow explorer.
She is available as a double CD studio album, as well as a live performance DVD. In the DVD the band (joined by cello, French horn, and various woodwinds) takes on the passive role, similar to a pit orchestra, while the cast and chorus move around on stage in costume as in a traditional opera. While some are undoubtedly inclined to label this as pretentious or overdone, I think they've pulled it off wonderfully. The show has been performed around the world, mostly in countries more inclined toward such musical efforts.
A couple clips of the DVD are available on YouTube, so I've included them here:
The scene at the opening where the two explorers are shipwrecked in a storm.
The confrontation between She and Ustane over the wounded Leo.