Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The Screen behind the mirror

In 2008 Lisa-Lee released an additional limited edition album, titled, 'The Screen behind the mirror'. This was released with the debut opera album, 'Sola perduta abbandonata'. The reason for this release was to help the sales of the first album; 'The Screen behind the mirror' managed to sell 10,000 copies over three months, resulting in Lisa-Lee selling just over 30,000 records during 2008.

Some people thought that it was a strange title for an album, but it had a deeper meaning to Lisa-Lee, what is meant by it, is for people to not judge other people, don't think you know someone from what you see on the outside, because there is a screen behind every mirror, just like a person, there is more to them than what you see.

2009 turned out to be a very difficult year for Lisa-Lee, this was because the later part of 2008 was a tough year for Lisa-Lee, not within her career, that was going from strength to strength, but her private life was a different story. Lisa-Lee found out that her friends son was dying, he was only six years old, Lisa-Lee had seen him grow up, he had a difficult early life, but the hardest part was that the boys mother had a drink and drug problem, so she was unable to cope with her sons illness, so Lisa-Lee decided to nurse him during the last five months of his life.

Lisa-Lee grew very close to 'Ben', she said that she'd of done anything to take his pain away and cure him, but she couldn't, all she could do was be there for him, Lisa-Lee said that he was the bravest person she's ever met and had he of lived, she would of arranged to adopt him, but that wasn't possible. Ben died in Lisa-Lee's arms; the grief spilled over into Lisa-Lee's career, because during her only opera performance of 2009, a performance of Puccini's 'Madama Butterfly', she lost her voice, it was the final part of the opera, when Butterfly kills herself for her little boy to live!

Some people don't realise that in the final aria of 'Madame Butterfly'; Butterfly is singing goodbye to her little boy, telling him how much she loves him. The words had such a deep meaning to Lisa-Lee, this resulted in her completely losing her voice, it ended up taking Lisa-Lee two years to retrain herself to sing opera.

2009 kept getting worse for Lisa-Lee, she was chosen to perform in another Puccini opera, 'Tosca', but when the organises saw what Lisa-Lee looked like, they very rudely told her that she was far too ugly and way too fat, so she got sacked. The organisers chose a very pretty young women, who did a terrible performance; the critics hated it, so that brought Lisa-Lee some joy; although she wouldn't of been able to do the performance, as she had lost her voice.

Things took a nasty turn for Lisa-Lee during 2009, she had decided to lose weight, but while out walking Lisa-Lee fell on a used hypodermic needle, this meant that she had to have quite a few injections to protect herself, also she had to wait 12 weeks (3 months), to find out if she had contracted the HIV virus; it was highly unlikely that Lisa-Lee would of caught HIV but she still had to be tested to be 100% certain. The worry of the HIV re-awoken fears from Lisa-Lee's childhood, during her early years when she was abused by a group of paedophiles, they used to tell Lisa-Lee that they had infected her with HIV and she was going to die!

Lisa-Lee was going through a hugely stressful time, remembering past events that she had completely forgotten, she was having panic attacks and bad nightmares, when she could sleep, so she eventually went to a counsellor and was told that she was suffering from, 'post traumatic stress disorder' (PTSD). Through counselling Lisa-Lee got through it; not only was Lisa-Lee dealing with grief but she also had to relive her childhood ordeals and try to get her voice back, part of Lisa-Lee just gave up, she'd had enough and needed to take time to slowly build herself back up.

Lisa-Lee gave her most open interview to her local newspaper, 'The south Wales Evening post'. This was part of her recovery from 'PTSD', and it was a way of letting people know what she had been through, most people judged her and put her down without knowing anything about her. In this interview Lisa-Lee spoke openly about her memories of abuse, she told them how she was told that she had been infected with HIV and was going to die, and how they sold her to each other for 10p, and how they would sometimes strangle her until she almost passed out, just to show her that they could kill her if they wanted to.

To give Lisa-Lee time to recover her record company changed their release plans, they decided to put out another limited edition EP / album, this was only released in the UK and Ireland, to try to build up her profile and boost the sales of her debut opera album, as it was released free with it; the title of this release was, 'Almost nothing'. Lisa-Lee says that this is how she was made to feel by people; like she was almost nothing! Unfortunatley this release failed to be successful, but it was badly promoted, something out of Lisa-Lee's control. 

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Sola, perduta, abbandonata

After taking several months off during 2005 to clean up the mess left behind from Lisa-Lee's last recording deal, she was considering quitting the music industry for good, but luckily for Lisa-Lee she got introduced to the 'Moggi' brothers, they ran their own independent opera company in Italy, and they were interested in working with Lisa-Lee; they were trying to launch their opera group in the UK and Ireland and they wanted to set up their own record label, and Lisa-Lee not only had the vocal talent to go into opera, but she had the contacts to set up a label.

The Moggi brother decided to give Lisa-Lee several months to train her opera voice, ready for an audition, which happened in July 2006. They were all more than happy with what Lisa-Lee could do, so they asked her to start training for three operas, they assisted Lisa-Lee's development by arranging voice lessons once a month.

Lisa-Lee's early opera voice is her copying the Italian opera diva 'Renata Scotto', the opera group didn't have a problem with that, as the plan was to gradually break Lisa-Lee into the opera world; it was planned that for the first five years Lisa-Lee would do semi-professional opera performances, these semi-professional opera performances were corporate events, and a small amount of critics would be invited to hear Lisa-Lee's performances, gradually becoming more as the events grew. After the five years, the plan was to gradually build Lisa-Lee's profile on the professional opera stage, they were planning on getting Lisa-Lee to do a few opera festivals and open air concerts, and continue her corporate concerts for another two years, then for her to move into the touring part of the opera group.

In 2007 Lisa-Lee starred in her first opera, she was to play the part of Liu in Puccini's opera 'Turandot'. Lisa-Lee didn't get paid for these two performances, as all the money was going to charity but it was a good introduction into the 'real' opera world, the European critics that were there said that Lisa-Lee's performance was 'truly beautiful'. The second opera that Lisa-Lee starred in later on in 2007 was Puccini's 'Sr. Angelica', with Lisa-Lee playing the lead / title role (sister Angelica); this was just a one off performance, Lisa-Lee didn't feel too happy with her performance, as she said that she made lots of little mistakes, but no one noticed, as the one critic that was there wrote that Lisa-Lee gave another beautiful performance. Lisa-Lee says that she was more nervous about this performance, as it was the first one that she was getting paid for.

In 2008 the Moggi brothers decided that Lisa-Lee had to do the opera role of 'Madama Butterfly', this was the role that Renata Scotto was best known for, and although Lisa-Lee was nervous about doing this role, she agreed, it was the best decision she made, as the critics really began to pay attention to her, at first some were stand-offish as Lisa-lee was copying another soprano, but after seeing her in Butterfly, they didn't care too much; at the start of 2008 Lisa-Lee did two performances of Puccini's 'Madama Butterfly. The few critics wrote that Lisa-Lee's performance brought everyone to tears, they said that she has one of the most beautiful and pretties voices in opera, one of the critics even wrote that Lisa-Lee was one of the most exciting young female opera voices to come along for years.

This lead to the release of Lisa-Lee's debut opera recital album, titled, 'Sola, perduta, abbandonata'. The translation of this is, 'alone, lost, abandoned'. This 2008 release contained Lisa-Lee's debut opera performance in Puccini's Turandot, plus several other recording Lisa-Lee made during the last four years. The reviews of this album were good and it slowly built up to become a success, it wasn't a huge success but gradually it built up enough sales to be considered a hit in the opera world. This album was not a mainstream release, it was kept as a special limited edition release, the record company only planned to promote it for 18 months before withdrawing it, during this time, the album went on to sell just over 20,000 copies over Europe.

Later in 2008 Lisa-Lee was due to perform in her fourth opera, this time a Verdi opera, 'Nabucco', it was reported that the Moggi brothers were asked to put on this opera for a Russian billionaire who's partner was dying, they were fans of Renata Scotto but never got to see her in an opera, so they were hugely interested in Lisa-Lee, they paid the opera group £250,000 for them to stage this opera, on the strict instruction that Lisa-Lee was to play the role of Abigail. Unfortunately this opera got cancelled due to the Russian billionaires partner falling very ill, she later on died.

Later in 2008 Lisa-Lee did one more performance in 'Madama Butterfly'; career wise 2007 and 2008 turned out to be very good years for Lisa-Lee, she was finally getting some where in the opera world