Faryl is the debut album by British mezzo-sopranoFaryl Smith(pictured), who rose to fame on the second series of Britain's Got Talent. Released on 9 March 2009, it became the fastest-selling classical solo album in British chart history, selling 29,200 copies in the first week, higher than any other debut album of a classical singer. It was produced by Jon Cohen, and the backing music was provided by a 60-piece orchestra. As part of the album's promotion, Smith made numerous television and radio appearances and filmed a music video for "River of Light", a song set to The Blue Danube. Faryl reached number 4 in the UK Albums Chart, becoming the third album by a Britain's Got Talent contestant to reach the top ten in Britain. Smith subsequently embarked on a promotional tour in the US, where the album reached number 6 on the classical chart. Faryl was fairly well received by critics, who praised Smith's performances and Cohen's production, although there was criticism for the use of the orchestra and the song choices. As one of the ten best-selling classical albums in the UK in 2009, Faryl was nominated for a Classical BRIT Award in the album of the year category. (Full article...)
"Mariana" is a poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, published in 1830. It was inspired by William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, though possibly drawing on influences from sources as varied as Sappho and Keats. It depicts a young woman lamenting her isolation from society, and her despair at her lover's absence, using imagery of a decaying wasteland surrounding Mariana's house to convey her emotions and isolation. The poem was well received at publication; one modern scholar described Mariana as "the most famous heroine of the 1830 volume".