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Subject: Re: THE SOUND OF MUSIC
From: Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Rich Lowenthal <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Sat, 10 Nov 2018 20:59:21 +0000
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Most of those crossover Broadway recordings failed musically because of 
strange casting choices--whatever you think of Jose Carreras, it's odd 
to give him the role Pinza made famous in South Pacific and flat-out 
bizarre to have his strong accent leading the American gang in West Side 
Story. The only benefit to some of the recordings was the resurrection 
of original music, as in the Sound of Music recording.

I agree that Von Stade has the right sensibility (as does Upshaw, whom I 
adore). One of the best crossover recordings has Von Stade in Showboat 
(along with Teresa Stratas as a terrific Julie). It's also one of the 
few Broadway works that really demands that kind of treatment.

------ Original Message ------
From: "Jon Goldberg" <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 11/10/2018 3:18:47 PM
Subject: Re: THE SOUND OF MUSIC

>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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