"GETTING TO KNOW THEM...
I've known Anastasia Lee, "Anya" to her friends, for a few years now and listened to the occasional track on youtube, most famously her duet with Josh Groban and, famously or notoriously, depending on your political persuasion, her singing of the national anthem for the man who is now the 45th President of the United States.
She is an excellent performer with her distinctive deep contralto, and a great conversationalist with wide-ranging knowledge of many subjects. Last year she joined forces with her sister Tatiana Marie, soprano, and Lithuanian-American prodigy soprano Agne Giedraityte or simply Agne G., and Tre Principesse, - the Three Princesses, were born. Getting To Know You is their first recording effort, entirely independently funded.
It is an excellent first effort, akin to the early albums by Siobhan Owen, Toni Gibson, and other rising stars of the crossover world. The production is both polished and professional, and there are no embarrassingly out-of-sync tracks or other rookie mistakes. All three have excellent voices, although all also have room to grow. They will likely all grow in different directions, for, although the accompaniment is mainly classical in sound, it is obvious that Anya is more of a balladeer, Tatiana more of a country/adult contemporary singer, and Agne more of a true crossover singer, and they choose pieces to emphasize those strengths.
That is both the album's strength and its weakness. It is its strength because it allows each soloist to showcase her strength to its fullest on what she is best at. It is its weakness because it makes the album a bit of a hodgepodge, without a single theme, where a hymn can be next to a country heartbreak song or a crossover aria next to a Frank Sinatra ballad.
The established crossover pieces deliver the goods. Anya's "Amazing Grace," Agne's "In Canto," both singing "The Prayer." Anya's "My Way" and the duet "Autumn Leaves" with Tatiana have an excellent retro/wine-sipping afternoon vibe. Tatiana is excellent on her three solos "I'll Get Over You," "One Day At A Time" and the harrowing "Three Wooden Crosses," but theirs is a genre either a listener likes, or doesn't, and may not play as well with all crossover fans. Agne does an excellent job on the album's sole Celtic piece "Carrickfergus." The soloists harmonize quite well on the Broadway medley finale, which includes the title track "Getting To Know You," "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," "Edelweiss," "If Ever I Would Leave You," and the unbeatable "You'll Never Walk Alone."
Overall it is a good album, and I hope it leads to a second effort from the three rising stars. Given Anya's family's interest in history, I for one hope they perform the songs of the defining days of the 20th century - World War II. Anya could sing an excellent "Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover," while Agne would excel at the works of Ivor Novello, and anything by the Andrews Sisters would be a good choice."
- Steven Olivio