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Subject: Re: Audra: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman: Operatic or Not?
From: [log in to unmask]
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Sat, 22 Jul 2000 17:43:35 EDT
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In a message dated 7/22/00 1:17:47 AM, [log in to unmask] writes:

<<  Meanwhile, Audra is at a place where she can
consolidate and develop her considerable assets or
give in to some emerging liabilities. I am willing to
bet big money to invest in the former. The time is
sure to come when her singing will be as consistently
sincere and attractive as she is as a person.
 >>

Dear Janos:

While I was not initially certain of the propriety of a post involving a 
musical comedy or pop performer in an opera forum (irrespective of the 
article on Audra McDonald in Opera News several months ago), I do find her, 
upon second thought, an appropriate subject for this list afterall.

She continues to mention in interviews that she has not fully decided if she 
will pursue a career in opera but does she at this point she has the stuff to 
make a great opera or pop singer? She will not be able to make a "star" 
salary on Broadway, which I believe is her true métiér, due to the present 
condition of the musical comedy in this country so she has to branch out. She 
appears to be more than a cross-over artist but one who is sitting on the 
fence: will she or won't she? Can she or can't she? Opera or pop? 
  
We could hope for another Eileen Farrell who could actually do both with 
great élan; but I have to agree with you, Janos; I do not think she has the 
stuff to be a great pop singer at this point and I also do not think she has 
the stuff to make it as an opera singer (in addition her heart does not 
appear to be in it for the latter).

I came to this conclusion after seeing her a few weeks ago in a Bravo (or was 
it A&E) taped concert from London; it included the same songs you mention (it 
must be a reshuffle of the concert you heard) and forced me to change my mind 
about going to her SF concert. 

I was greatly disappointed by the flatness in her voice, the lack of nuance 
and intensity in these songs. She is certainly no match for Stratas in "Bill" 
from Show Boat, which I believe is the greatest interpretation of this song I 
have ever heard (including the renowned Helen Morgan who is in the original 
film of Show Boat).

You mention that Audra has "Streisanditis" in some aspects of her singing, 
but I only wish she had Streisand's theatrical sense that can make an 
audience sit up to attention. I agree that Streisand may have an "overbright" 
quality and an ability to annoy some but she also has an uncanny emotional 
pitch that excites in live performance.

I found Audra had this ability in the Gershwin concert she did with MTT a few 
years ago but I have been disappointed by most of what I have heard on TV and 
recording since then. I have only listened once to Marie Christine and so far 
find her and the show tedious but I have not given up. Some Sondheim shows 
require several listenings before one reaches the crux of the work. 

I consider her, as do you, extremely talented but at this point I fear she 
may be another victim of the 'hype machine,' and her career, operatic or not, 
may never develop as it could. She is young and promising at this point but I 
think she is the type of performer who needs strong direction on the stage 
and does not yet seem to have the interpretive skills for a concert of songs.

I want her to succeed because she is so talented and sincere but I hope she 
gets better guidance and tutelage as the sky's the limit for her. Does anyone 
think she will try opera?

Cordially,
Jon Dorsch
San Francisco

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