We should celebrate the fact that within the space of a year London has played host to stagings of not one but two Sondheim masterpieces that have all but redefined them in theatrical terms: Company and Follies.
Mates blogger: Edward Seckerson
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I was a little late to the party in respect of Vladimir Jurowski’s scintillating new recording of the original 1877 version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia (Yevgeny Svetlanov’s orchestra) but I’ve been much absorbed by it, thrilled by it.
Leonard Bernstein and André Previn very different animals. But their completeness as musicians, their ability to embrace and cherish music of spectacularly diverse genres, their connection with popular culture, their many and varied gifts as conductors, composers, pianists, and impossibly eloquent commentators make them kindred spirits in so many respects.
In Joyce DiDonato’s album Songplay we have the epitome of what we Brits call a ‘Marmite’ experience with elements to love and/or loathe whether or not you buy the concept in the first place.
New York City Center Encores – an NYC haven for neglected or forgotten shows – have now revived Brigadoon six times, a testament to its enduring appeal, and this latest manifestation with the delectable Kelli O’Hara as Fiona is most welcome.
I have often been asked if I listen to music differently when reviewing or not reviewing. It’s an interesting question. There is, you could say, a heightened level of awareness when ‘in working mode’.
The recent revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy & Bess at English National Opera and the prospect of comparing all its available recordings in BBC Radio 3’s Record Review has prompted me to look a little deeper into this landmark score and to reassess its significance in the chronology of American music theatre.
Renée Fleming’s choices are shrewd and wide-ranging in her Broadway album, embracing the contemporary and the classic in pretty much equal measure whilst demonstrating that style in this repertoire probably has more to do with attitude than technical adjustment. More, but not all.
It’s the earnestness that doesn’t ring true in Simon Rattle and LSO’s recording of Bernstein’s Wonderful Town, the way in which that which should come naturally simply sounds overworked.
This is also a beautifully sung revival of Carousel on Broadway – and even having not seen it I can tell that these terrific artists are truly ‘acting through song’.
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