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.
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.
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’.
There wasn’t much that Leonard Bernstein didn’t try his hand at at least once – and wanting, needing, to experience it all applied as surely to the music he wrote as to the music he conducted.
The sound of tapping feet invokes a whole era of classic Broadway and Hollywood musicals and when the curtain rises on this tap-infused extravaganza it pauses 18 inches or so off the stage to afford us our first glimpse of the source of that pulsing, kinetic sound – 42nd Street.