|Cáitlyn Burke, Alexis Cregger, Sarah Best, and Anne Slovin at The Players|
This is the 13th year for Light Opera of New York, co-founded by Carol Davis. We have enjoyed their operettas, four of which have been recorded, as well as their more casual cabaret evenings at The Players on Gramercy Park South. Last night was special! It was special because we heard four lovely ladies of the opera world performing a great variety of songs from the world of opera, light opera, cabaret, American musical theater, and whatever. We love the fact that there were no dividing lines. Any song that is well written and well sung can stand along any other song with the same qualifications.
Director for the evening was the engaging Gary Slavin who introduced the program. Able accompaniment was provided by Music Director Seth Weinstein.
We love Gilbert and Sullivan and were delighted by the opening number "I have a song to sing, O" from Yeoman of the Guard sung by the entire ensemble. The patter song "I am the very model of a modern Major General" from their H.M.S. Pinafore provided no obstacle for these four songbirds!
"Cheerily carols the lark" from Ruddigore was given a lovely interpretation by Sarah Best and Cáitlin Burke. "I cannot tell what this love may be" from Patience was sung by Anne Slovin and Alexis Cregger.
We never tire of Gilbert's clever wordplay or Sullivan's memorable tunes and we enjoyed this Savoy feast.
There were other lighthearted songs on the program. "Vodka" (makes me feel oddka) was given a delightful performance by Ms. Best. This song came from the 1926 musical by George Gershwin and Oscar Hammerstein II called Song of the Flame. The lyrics are clever and Ms. Best's interpretation was, well, "the best".
We also enjoyed her subtle rendering of "Meadowlark" from Stephen Schwartz' The Baker's Wife as well as "I hate men" from Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate. "Always true to you in my fashion" from the same show was given a knowing delivery by Ms. Cregger.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I produced so many fine songs and "Something Wonderful" was beautifully performed by Ms. Burke, as was "Climb Every Mountain" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music.
From a failed show entitled Rags by Charles Strouse we loved the song "Children of the Wind" sung by Ms. Slovin.
Since we did not grow up in the world of American musical theater, most of these songs were new to us and hearing them was a revelation. We are far more familiar with the world of opera and operetta.
From the world of operetta we heard the beautiful "Vilja" from Franz Lehar's Die Lustige Witwe sung by Ms. Cregger and Ms. Slovin's rendering in lovely French "J'en prendrai un deux, trois" from Jacques Offenbach's Pomme d'Api.
From the familiar world of opera, we found Ms. Slovin's performance of Norina's aria "So anch'io al virtù magica" from Donizetti's Don Pasquale to be absolutely enchanting and dramatically valid .
We have saved for last our thrill at hearing the versatile Ms. Cregger perform "Dich, teure Halle" from Wagner's Lohengrin with heroic sound and lots of impetus from Mr. Weinstein's equally heroic piano!
What a splendid night going from one gorgeous song to another with nary a longueur. The time just flew by! Everyone left smiling. Good music will do that for you!
(c) meche kroop