|Steven Blier and Friends
Raquel González portrayed the femme fatale in "Ich schenk' mein Herz" from Carl Millöcker's Die Dubarry, captivating the audience as well as the five gentlemen of the cast. Next she sang a duet with Nathan Haller from Lehár's "Die lustige Witwe". Miles Mykkanen sang "There Isn't One Girl in the World for Me" from Jerome Kern's Sitting Pretty, subtly coloring his timbre and varying his vibrato to sound like a recording of that period.
"Je suis Lazuli" from Chabrier's L'Etoile was sung in the best of French from the very French Virginie Verrez. Philip Stoddard donned a silly rajah's turban for the amusing "Chant birman" from Messager's L'Amour masqué; what was most remarkable was that he gave the rajah's nonsense language a French accent. Absolutely hilarious.
Rachel Wilson infused her zarzuela number with a pinch of sazón; Barbieri's El barberillo de Lavapiés is a zarzuela we long to hear in its entirety. A splendid duet with some lightning fast patter was performed by Kyle Bielfield and Davone Tines from another zarzuela entitled La del manojo de rosas by Sorozábal; it involved a humorous dispute between two men courting the same woman.
Simone Easthope sang "The Amorous Goldfish" from Sidney Jones' The Geisha and Kyle Bielfield sang "Je suis gai" from Offenbach's La Belle Hélène, perhaps the most famous of the operettas on the program. The seasonal duet "April Snow" from Romberg's Up in Central Park was sung by Rachel Wilson and Nathan Haller. The program ended with John Philip Sousa's humorous "Against the Spanish Army" from El Capitan. Somehow we never knew that the famous composer of marches wrote an operetta!
Throughout this generous evening, Mr. Blier narrated from the piano, letting the audience in on the plot and characters. It was just one of those evenings that you wish would never end. Sadly, it is over and these talented performers are leaving for summer programs elsewhere. But Mr. Blier is not going anywhere and we will be enjoying his exploration into unusual vocal music tonight and on May 13th. You should as well!
© meche kroop