On my local Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) they have had on a concert that was recorded in beautiful Portofino, Italy showcasing the wide ranging talents of world renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli. The landscape, setting and music are breathtaking, spectacular and impressive. Set against a backdrop of lush rolling hills, the water (with people in boats) and persons at café’s and at windows of homes along the piazza, it gives such ambiance to this great concert. This concert focused on the romantic and love songs that Andrea sings quite wonderfully, with feeling and ease. While the person listening to the concert may not be familiar with the language the song is being sung in, just let the music and words speak to your very being as well as your soul moving you …..
But at the same time, the spectacular views that are interspersed throughout the entire concert, serves as a travel log for visiting Portofino itself.
While classically trained, he is equally comfortable singing pop, religious, contemporary and just about any form of music. He puts his own unique stamp on a love song identified with Elvis Pressley “Love me Tender.” Even though the sun was still in the sky when the concert began, as it went down, lights outlining the homes and businesses were illuminated in light giving it more of a personable/romantic feel to it. As well as well as the stars shining and twinkling down from the sky. One thing struck me that I did not realize is how many languages he is able to sing in. He did songs in six (6) different languages (some with guest artists)… But being classically trained and familiarity with many languages, gives a good foundation for working with any genre of music.
One song that was at the end of the concert was sung in both Italian and English, and had special meaning for Portofino entitled “I FOUND MY LOVE IN PORTOFINO”. Even though the song has the connection to Portofino, you could be anywhere in the world to either sing or hear this song, and you are transported to this lovely city. But the final song (in Italian) was “My Way”, and Andrea definitely does it his way.
THEATRE AND MUSIC
I guess most all of my life; I’ve enjoyed the theatre, opera, ballet and music. I remember as a youngster taking ballet lessons and being in recitals, it’s still a good form of exercise today. Two of my favorite ballets include Swan Lake and The Nutcracker (I’ve got an extensive collection of Nutcrackers and Nutcracker related things). When I was in Girl Scouts I remember my Junior Girl Scout Troop going into New York City to attend a play that was playing on Broadway, namely Fiddler on The Roof. Its star was the legendary Zero Mostel, and I remember being so fascinated that this must have been the beginning of the love that I have for the theatre. Not just going to Broadway to attend performances, but community theatre and locations such as Westbury Music Fair (Westbury, Long Island). Wolf Trap, National Park for the Performing Arts, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The National and Warner Theatres (Washington, DC), Arena Stage and many other venues. Shows ranging from The Mikado, Flower Drum Song, A Chorus Line, Cats, The Pirates of Penzance, Aida, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Wicked, Arsenic and Old Lace, Peter Pan, The King and I (starting the one and only Yul Brenner), Man of LaMancha, Sound of Music, plus so many others. Including all of the plays of William Shakespeare. While in school, I was in Pocketful of Miracles, Guys and Dolls, Man of La Mancha, My Fair Lady, including plays that were written specifically to be performed before the elementary school students (some of which I wrote).
Lighting, setting, set design, costumes and so much more play a large role in the success or failure of a play just as the person that is playing a particular role. It doesn’t matter if you have a well-known person in a lead or supporting role in great part it’s how they take that role and make it their own. Even the great Yul Brenner could have an off day as the King of Siam. But then again you could get someone in a role that someone else has put his stamp on, and the other person could be horrible or far surpass the originator of the part. Even with newer productions with a named person in a part the performance can get a negative review and not last long on the Great White Way, or far surpass all expectations. Case in point for over 25 years Les Miserables has played to sold out audiences where ever it played, due in part to the strength of the acting talent they have, the music, etc., even though there are newer people in the parts now. This doesn’t always happen. Other examples of longstanding successes would have to include Beauty and the Beast, A Chorus Line, The Lion King, Wicked and others that I believe that I am missing at this point.
At the holiday time a perpetual favorite that has lasting power would have to be A Christmas Carol as well as The Nutcracker. Many stars today have gotten their initial start on Broadway. A case in point would have to be Kristen Chenoweth, who was the original Glynda the Good Witch in Wicked (I saw this play at the John F. Kennedy Center just prior to its opening on Broadway). It would stand to reason that if a producer is mounting a musical production, he or she would have to make sure that for all parts that require singing, you must have someone that can actually sing, and not put someone in the part because they are otherwise good for the part with the hopes they can carry it off (an example of this might be putting someone like Sophia Loren in the role of Aldonza in Man of La Mancha which is a part that requires a great deal of singing, when she really can’t sing, the movie version of the play was not that good a product).
I also see the Circus as being a theatre of sorts; after all it is another form of entertainment and fantasy just like a play. The performers in the circus have to rehearse and train just like actors do for a role, even though what circus performers are a bit different than their counterparts in the theatre. They all still entertain and bring happiness to the audience.
AS far as music is concerned, I guess my tastes in my tastes could be described as eclectic. I enjoy listening to Ronnie Milsap the Beach
Boys, Tom Jones, Englebert Humperdinck, John Denver, Richard Marx, Andrea Bochelli, Luciano Pavarotti, plus many others. I remember also seeing Reba McEntire, Vince Gil, John Denver, The Beach Boys, David Cassidy, The Beatles and many more. Plus having the opportunity to see the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Pops, the Royal Canadians under the direction of Guy Lombardo (got to see the latter at the theatre at Jones Beach), Debbie Reynolds