Sunday, April 09, 2006

My personal review of The Golden Apple

As per usual I post all theatre reviews in my personal blog, and here is my review of The Golden Apple. I know the show closes today, so it's a little late to motivate any ticket sales, but there you go.

My standard explanation for why I do this:

a) My personal blog is where I review all my cultural pursuits, so that's where it belongs.
b) I review this as an individual, not a 42nd St. Moon person, so, again, that's where it belongs.


the reason that I never quote entire reviews in this blog from anywhere:

c) Some actors don't like to read reviews...sometimes not until the show is closed, sometimes not ever. So by publishing it elsewhere and just providing the link actors who read this blog are taken by surprise.

I can see why "The Golden Apple" wasn't such a big success on Broadway, and the main reason is that it's an opera, not a musical. And a very good one. The number of successful comic operas in English can probably be counted on one hand (Benjamin Britten's "Albert Herring" is the only one I can actually think of right now.) The musical closest to "Apple" is "Candide," which also had lyrics by the great Latouche, but in some ways this piece is even more ambitious. I was tremendously impressed, and would love to hear the show with a full orchestra.

As for 42nd Street Moon's production, let me state that I'm usually terrible at making out lyrics, particularly on first hearing, but that I understood every word of this production, through-sung in rhyming couplets no less. The diction of every single member of the cast was astonishing. The voices were not only good top to bottom but in some cases were world-class. Josh Powell as Ulysses has one of the most beautiful baritones I've ever heard and Carly Ozard sounds like she's ready to start training for Azucena in "Il Trovatore."

The organization should see about getting a grant to record this piece with an orchestra for posterity. It really is an interesting slice of theatrical history, and the company did themselves proud.
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