2019 GRAMMY® Award Winner -
Best Classical Solo Vocal Album
Named CRITIC’S CHOICE by Opera News
Debuted at #5 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Chart
Debuted at #3 on the iTunes Classical Chart
iTunes Classical A-List
I Love You To Hell And Back. Lebanese-American tenor Karim Sulayman’s neat encapsulation of the Orpheus myth infuses his solo recording debut, Songs of Orpheus. Orpheus, the greatest singer of all time, famously followed his deceased beloved Eurydice to the gates of Hades in an attempt to bring her back to life. He was thwarted by the gods who forbade him to gaze at her during their journey back to earth. He could not resist, and the tale has been told in numerous musical interpretations including those of Monteverdi and his 17th-century compatriots who are represented on this imaginative album, performed with leading baroque interpreters Jeannette Sorrell and Apollo's Fire.
Critical Acclaim for
SONGS OF ORPHEUS:
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE:
"...his lucid, velvety tenor and pop-star charisma best suited to melodious arias... He casts beguilingly mellifluous lines..., and captures the wistful melancholy with mellow tones... Sulayman's Italian diction is impeccable... pure beauty of sound."
“Lebanese-American tenor Karim Sulayman [and Apollo’s Fire] are ideal hosts: they get past the surface, so to speak, to the inner fire of Monteverdi’s Orfeo. The immediacy and heat they provide to scenes from that masterpiece outweigh any worries you might have about stylistic niceties. The details are not neglected, but they are made subsidiary to the emotion… Sulayman’s attractive tenor tone serves his dramatic instincts well, closely embracing the flow of Italian texts and musical line.” (read the full review here)
"Sulayman makes a pleasant, personable hero, letting the text lead the way here, just as it should, and balancing a light, agile top to his voice with a baritonal warmth at the bottom."
EARLY MUSIC AMERICA MAGAZINE
"Tenor Karim Sulayman [and Apollo's Fire] run this historical/stylistic gamut with emotional engagement and technical aplomb. Sulayman sings with a smooth, at times sweet, and above all even tone that remains balanced and poised through a variety of affects... The legends don’t discuss Orpheus’s virtuosity, but Sulayman tosses in some impressive displays... demonstrating both the tenor’s phenomenal sense of line and his sensitivity to the text without overstatement... The overall effect is of listening closely to a person nobly in touch with their emotions rather than a character tossed around by their feelings." (read the full review here)
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"This elegant and heartfelt new release... a pleasure in its own right... rendered with stylishness and an easy grace. Sulayman boasts a clarion but richly textured sound." (read the full review here)
GRAMOPHONE - THE LISTENING ROOM, EPISODE 25
"...music by Tarquinio Merula (very attractively sung by the tenor Karim Sulayman)..."
"...Sulayman has a wonderfully resonant voice, and he contributes, in his singing and in an elegant note, a sense of personal involvement with the story of Orpheus, mythology's most famous vocalist... where Sulayman really excels is in forging a little "I love you to hell and back" narrative to tie together these pieces... An audience of the 17th century, one suspects, would have loved both the idea and its execution by Sulayman, who manages to produce a big yet intimate sound." (read the full review here)
EARLY MUSIC REVIEW
"...the evidence of the present CD Sulayman seems likely to have been a highly personable Orfeo. His tenor is a pleasing lyric instrument, capable of a range of colour. His greatest asset is an acute awareness of text, an asset so essential in this music. Sulayman uses this awareness to effect with, fluid musical shaping that obeys the demands of the text, while never being slave to the rigidity of the bar line. He has, too, the technique to open ‘Rosa del ciel’ with a true messa di voce and the intelligence to bring, for example, delicious shaping and a sense of the joy of awakening love..." (read the full review here)
"With Songs of Orpheus from Karim Sulayman & Apollo's Fire out now via AVIE Records, it has to be said that once you've listened to this quite incredible recording, you'll simply hit repeat and allow it to waft over and through you all over again... simply put, one of the most breathtaking works of classical art I have ever beheld." (read the full review here)