For its jaw-dropping chutzpah Stealing Genius deserves a Juno. The nerviness begins with the Oscar Wilde aphorism used for its title. It continues as singer McConnell, who sings in French and English, and trumpeter Sperandei take on the A-list of musical egos: Elvis Presley (“Suspicious Minds”), Edith Piaf (“La Vie en Rose”) and Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (“Thank You”). The pluckiness hits warp drive, though, when the pair bring an upstart brashness to “From Russia With Love” that’s entirely absent in Matt Monro’s original crooning of the Bond flick’s theme.
There are moments in this 13-song offering that leave you a little shaken, mostly when McConnell hits high notes; other moment can stir you, however. In “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” fromThe Fantasticks, she’s cool, calm, breathy and collected. Sperandei’s playing is lush and well-matched to McConnell voice. Pianist Mark Kieswetter’s arrangements are intuitively right and Douglas Romanow’s production brings a big-money feel.
Peter Goddard, The Toronto Star