Episode 256. Mari Lyn’s Golden Treasury of Chutzpah (Alternate Universe Bel Canto III)

Episode 256. Mari Lyn’s Golden Treasury of Chutzpah (Alternate Universe Bel Canto III)



Many of my listeners look forward with eager anticipation to my annual April Fool’s episodes, and today’s packs a particularly powerful punch! A few months back my friend Thomas Bagwell, a perpetual friend of the podcast, told me he had a dub of a rare recording on Philips Records [sic] by the New York-based soprano Mari Lyn, well known as the Singing Hostess of the 1980s public access cable television program The Golden Treasury of Song. On the spurious LP she sings Verdi and Puccini arias accompanied (sort of) by her artistic collaborator Howard Salat (of the Local 802) leading the “Belgravia Philharmonia Symphonica Orchestra” [sic]. If any of you remember Ms. Lyn from my previous Alternate Universe Bel Canto episodes, you will know that she packs a vocal punch that can leave you reeling (and your ears ringing!) I actually convinced Thomas to get on the horn with me yesterday from Copenhagen and we recorded a spirited conversation in which we discuss everything from Easter bonnets to theater organs to cranky Unitarians to defective blenders to aging ingénues to Lee Press-On Nails to Oscar the Grouch to Queens, Europe to the power of parlando before we get down to the true business of the day: singing the praises of our alternate universe diva, Marilyn Sosman (known to vocal aficionados the world over as Mari Lyn), she of the indestructible vocal bands, lofty wigs, and life-affirming (and -altering) costume jewelry. This whimsical episode strips Mari Lyn of her wigs, gowns, and accountrements (in a figurative sense only) leaving her only with her most powerful asset: that legendary Sherman tank of a voice. Armed with that voice, she refashions some of the most popular arias of Verdi and Puccini, and, thanks to her imaginative use of the Italian language; her refusal to conform to the strait-jacket of the printed page; and her idiosyncratic use of pitch, rhythm, and vocal color; renders them unrecognizable in the process. Not only is the music transformed, but so are we, her fans, who listen on in horrified fascination at what she will think of next. Evviva Mari Lyn!


All selections, unless otherwise noted, are from the Philips [sic] recording, ca. 1985 entitled The Art of Mari Lyn: Verdi – Puccini Opernarien featuring Mari Lyn [née Marilyn Sussman] with Howard Salat leading the Belgravia Philharmonia Symphonica Orchestra [sic].

Giuseppe Verdi: Caro nome (Rigoletto)

Giacomo Puccini: Sì, mi chiamano Mimì (La bohème)

Giuseppe Verdi: Pace, pace, mio Dio (La forza del destino)

Giacomo Puccini: Donde lieta uscì (La bohème)

Giuseppe Verdi: Ave Maria (Otello)

Giuseppe Verdi: O patria mia (Aida)]

Giacomo Puccini: In questa reggia (Turandot). Natália de Andrade

Giuseppe Verdi: Ritorna vincitor (Aida)

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