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Subject: Re: THE SOUND OF MUSIC
From: Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Jon Goldberg <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 10 Nov 2018 15:18:47 -0500
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I remember that recording, but don't have much specific memories of the performances. 
Most of that glut of crossover recordings of musical theatre scores (there were a lot of 
them in the 90's, following that dismal West Side Story) were lacking for various reasons 
- often because the opera singer casts couldn't find their way stylistically into the music. 
However, I think Von Stade (who also did a nice album of Rodgers and Hart songs) had 
the right kind of sensibility. One of the best in that regard - who ALSO did a very good 
Rodgers and Hart album - was Dawn Upshaw. 

One nice thing on that Sound Of Music recording was the inclusion of the complete "An 
Ordinary Couple," including the intro verse which was cut from the show. I actually tried 
restoring that verse once in a production I did, but that was a mistake - it slowed the 
scene down too much - and it was out before the production opened, lol. (However, I will 
always champion "An Ordinary Couple" over that impossibly saccharine nonsense about 
"youth or childhood" that Rodgers wrote himself, after Hammerstein's death, that 
replaced that song in the film version. The great thing about "An Ordinary Couple" is that 
the lyrics actually fit the characters and the scene, rather than stopping everything cold 
the way "Something Good" does. Much as I love Rodgers, Hammerstein actually 
understood the dramatic moment there - Rodgers didn't, IMO.)

Possibly the worst performance on any of those crossover recordings isn't by an opera 
singer, but by a seasoned Broadway artist known for going over the top - a "Man Of La 
Mancha" with Placido Domingo in the title role (even back then, a baritone in the making 
lol), with Mandy Patinkin playing Sancho as some sort of "Speedy Gonzales" caricature of 
Sancho, which was IMO horribly offensive even back then when less people would have 
cared about such stereotypes. Truly horrific. 

As to Mr. Kane's question - "Why do they keep trying to produce small scale version of 
such high flying works, I wonder?" - well, it seems to me that TV, since its inception, has 
been trying to do just that - it's nothing new. And don't forget that Rodgers and 
Hammerstein wrote their "Cinderella" specifically for TV, just as Menotti had done with 
"Amahl" about 6 years prior. (And, of the 3 versions of that TV Cinderella, I daresay the 
original Julie Andrews one is still the best.) I agree that the recent Sound Of Music 
attempt was pretty awful - as have been the majority of the Zadan/Meron TV productions 
over time. I liked their first one, the 1993 "Gypsy" with Bette Midler, but it's taken them 
all the way until 2016 to do something equally satisfying with Hairspray. And the next 
one, this year's Jesus Christ Superstar, was also well done even despite John Legend 
being vocally miscast. 

Based on my recollections, that Carousel concert wasn't all that great - including way way 
way too many cuts to that score. And Gunn was impossibly stiff, as I recall. (The NY Phil 
"Show Boat" concert from a few years ago was also a huge disappointment, save the 
wonderful spot-on performances by Chris Fitzgerald and Alli Mauzey as the vaudeville 
couple - but when the best thing you can say about a performance of Show Boat is that 
Frank and Ellie were the standouts, what kind of a performance is that, lol?)


On Sat, 10 Nov 2018 10:56:58 -0500, donald kane <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Here's an opera related question prompted by the PBS
>presentation last night of the dismal 2015 revival of
>Rodgers & Hammerstein's nearly 60 year old musical,
>and which couldn't have been more boring.
>
>Does anyone recall a studio recording of the show that
>starred Frederica von Stade, Eileen Farrell, Hakan
>Hagegard, Barbara Daniels and others, released in the
>late Eighties?  Sounds like it should have been a winner.
>
>Why do they keep trying to produce small scale versions
>of such high flying works, I wonder?  The only one that, IMO,
>succeeded, was the "live" NY Philfarmonic CAROUSEL, a
>few years back, with Nathan Gunn, and, I think, Stephanie
>Blythe: one of the best performances of that lovable work I
>ever saw.
>
>dtmk
>
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