Episode 52. Operaish Broadway (Crossover Classics VIII)

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Episode 52. Operaish Broadway (Crossover Classics VIII)



John Raitt

Today’s episode (in celebration of Countermelody’s first birthday!) picks up where the last one left off: more musicals, more opera (and operaish) singers! Excerpts from cast recordings, radio broadcasts, telecasts, and live performances highlight the work of singers who divided their time, to a greater or lesser extent, between the Broadway stage and the operatic stage. We begin with the great bass-baritones (Ezio Pinza, Cesare Siepi, Giorgio Tozzi, and José Van Dam) and move through the great Broadway (and sometime opera) baritones (Alfred Drake, John Raitt, Bruce Yarnell, Robert Trehy, Leslie Scott, Lawrence Winters, and John Reardon) with a nod to other opera singers who have also graced the Broadway stage (Helen Traubel, Shirley Verrett, Mona Paulee, Dorothy Sarnoff, Risë Stevens, Lee Venora, Camilla Williams, and Carol Brice). We then consider singers whose vocal abilities could easily have put them on the opera stage, had they chosen to so devote themselves (Alice Ghostley, Madeline Kahn, Barbara Cook, Florence Henderson, Judy Kaye, Lisa Vroman, Audra McDonald, Victoria Clark, Rebecca Luker, and the late Marin Mazzie). The episode also features tributes to two recently deceased divas (Gabriella Tucci and Christiane Eda-Pierre) as well as a spotlight on the gorgeous soprano Margaret Tynes, who just celebrated her 101st birthday.


Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II: You’ll Never Walk Alone (Carousel). Shirley Verrett. Farewell recital, Théâtre du Châtelet (1995)

George Bizet: Ô Dieu Brahma (Les Pêcheurs de perles). Christiane Eda-Pierre, Nicolai Gedda, Eve Queler, Opera Orchestra of New York [Carnegie Hall 20 January 1974]

Giuseppe Verdi: O terra addio (Aida). Gabriella Tucci, Franco Corelli, Irene Dalis; Orchestra conducted by George Schick [live 03 March 1962]

Ezio Pinza at the recording session for Fanny.

Harold Rome: Welcome Home (Fanny). Ezio Pinza; Orchestra conducted by Lehman Engel

Milton Schafer, Ronny Graham: Miranda (Bravo Giovanni). Cesare Siepi; Orchestra conducted by Anton Coppola

Mitch Leigh, Joe Darion, Jacques Brel (French lyrics): Dulcinéa (L’Homme de la Mancha). José Van Dam, Patrick Baton, Orchestre de l’Opéra Royal de Wallonie [live 1988 recording]

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II: Twin Soliloquies (South Pacific). Florence Henderson, Giorgio Tozzi; Orchestra conducted by Franz Allers

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II: All at Once You Love Her (Pipe Dream). Helen Traubel; Orchestra conducted by Salvatore Dell’Isola

Dorothy Sarnoff: Lifestyle consultant in the 1970s

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II: Something Wonderful (The King and I). Dorothy Sarnoff; Orchestra conducted by Frederick Dvonch

Risë Stevens and Darren McGavin in the 1964 Lincoln Center production of The King and I

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II: Shall I Tell You What I Think of You? (The King and I). Risë Stevens; Orchestra conducted by Franz Allers

Lee Venora and Frank Porretta in the 1964 Lincoln Center production of The King and I

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II: We Kiss in a Shadow (The King and I). Frank Porretta, Lee Venora; Orchestra conducted by Franz Allers

Alfred Drake and Lee Venora in the 1961 Broadway production of Kean.

Robert Wright, George Forrest (after Camille Saint-Saëns): Willow, Willow, Willow (Kean). Lee Venora; Orchestra conducted by Pembroke Davenport

(L to R) Ray Heatherton (Joey’s dad!), Mitzi Green, and Alfred Drake
in the 1935 Broadway production of Babes in Arms

Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart: Where or When (Babes in Arms). Alfred Drake; Orchestra conducted by Mitchell Ayres [Guest Star radio program, broadcast 02 June 1957]

Hey, There!

Richard Adler, Jerry Ross: Hey There (The Pajama Game). Rosemary Clooney, John Raitt; Orchestra conducted by Frank De Vol [The Lux Hour, telecast 5 June 1958]

Jule Styne, Betty Comden, Adolph Green: Make Someone Happy (Do Re Mi). John Reardon; Orchestra conducted by Lehman Engel

Irving Berlin, Robert Gilbert (German lyrics): Ich bin wehrlos vor ihr [My Defenses Are Down] (Annie schiess los! [Annie Get Your Gun]). Robert Trehy, Franz Allers, Orchester des Theater des Westens

Irving Berlin: An Old Fashioned Wedding (Annie Get Your Gun). Bruce Yarnell, Ethel Merman; Orchestra conducted by Franz Allers

Harold Arlen, Yip Harburg: Right as the Rain (Bloomer Girl). Mona Paulee; André Kostelanetz and His Orchestra [Music by Kostelanetz radio program, ca. 1944]

George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward: I Got Plenty o’ Nuttin’ (Porgy and Bess). Leslie Scott; Orchestra conducted by Jay Blackton

George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, DuBose Heyward: Bess, You Is My Woman Now (Porgy and Bess). Lawrence Winters, Camilla Williams; Charles Sanford’s Orchestra [Max Liebman Spectaculars, “The Music of Gershwin” episode, aired 12 May 1956]

Happy 101st Birthday, Ms. Tynes!

George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Du Bose Heyward: What You Want Wid Bess (Porgy and Bess). Margaret Tynes, William Dillard; Paul Belanger, The Opera Society Orchestra

Claibe Richardson, Kenward Elmslie: Marry with Me (The Grass Harp). Carol Brice; Orchestra conducted by Theodore Seidenberg

Sheldon Harnick: Boston Beguine (New Faces of 1952). Alice Ghostley; Orchestra conducted by Anton Coppola

Patricia Routledge, Ken Howard and an unidentified child actor in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Leonard Bernstein, Alan Jay Lerner: Duet for One (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue). Patricia Routledge; Orchestra conducted by Roland Gagnon [live performance May 1976]

Leonard Bernstein, Richard Wilbur: Glitter and Be Gay (Candide). Madeline Kahn; Orchestra conducted by Maurice Peress [live performance 10 November 1968]

Irving Berlin: You’d Be Surprised (Ziegfeld Follies of 1919). Madeline Kahn; Orchestra conducted by Elliot Lawrence [Irving Berlin’s 100th Birthday Celebration, aired 27 May 1988]

Cy Coleman, Betty Comden, Adolph Green: Never (On the Twentieth Century). Judy Kaye; Orchestra conducted by Paul Gemignani [live 1978 performance]

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Richard Stilgoe, Charles Hart: Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again (The Phantom of the Opera). Lisa Vroman; Gualtiero Negrini; San Francisco Radio Orchestra

Adam Guettel: Dividing Day (The Light in the Piazza). Audra McDonald; Fred Hersch

Adam Guettel: Fable (The Light in the Piazza). Victoria Clark; Ensemble conducted by Ted Sperling

Jule Styne, Carolyn Leigh: Killing Time. Rebecca Luker

Rebecca Luker

Stephen Sondheim: Losing My Mind (Follies). Marin Mazzie; Paul Gemignani, New York Philharmonic [Sondheim 80th Birthday Celebration Concert, 15 March 2010]

Barbara Cook

Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II: You Are Love (Show Boat). John Raitt, Barbara Cook; Orchestra conducted by Franz Allers

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