The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Special Feature CD

Roberto Alagna, sings Luis Mariano
Paris Symphony Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon 6081
ISBN# 0 2894768973 7

Here at DPR, we know that we have many fans of operetta among our listeners, and we "opened" this CD today to start the day with a real treat.   Lush 1940s orchestrations and 1950s kitsch arrangements make this CD a feast for the ears... not to mention the mature voice of international opera star, Spanish born, "French" opera star Roverto Alangna.  No stranger to controversy himself, this is his tribute to the controversial tenor Luis Mariano of the late operetta era.   The purists (you know who you are) will say that some of the arrangements and stylings are too floral and too unconventional... but that is exactly what was said about Mariano in his day.   Only an international star of Alagna's stature could get a quirky CD like this produced today... with duets with other name performers filled with 1950s style banter, and some of the selections are produced with background sounds to give the impression that they were lifted from a film. While all the arrangements have been re-thought and re-orchestrated for Alagna, they retain the glitzy sequin-dust from the days of Liberaci and Lanza.  Great voice, magnificent production values and great fun.  (Fairly common with European releases, this was released in France in 2006, released later in the U.S., and only sent to our station a few months ago by the label.) 

Kara Dahl Russell

P.S. - My personal note to Theatre Companies (schools, colleges & companies looking for musicals that are not ove-done):   The great wealth of Operetta literature is being entirely overlooked these days, except for the occaisional Gilbert and Sullivan production.  Operettas are not only filled with great melody, but usually have nice roles for several more than just the two leads, many of them set in war-time so they could be done in modern dress, often having  fantasy elements & a kitsch-factor that makes them both family friendly and fun, but mostly, glorious music that is hummable and lets the audience leave in a happy cloud.   Productions that are fun and fresh that bring money to your theatre are always "relevant" (and no liscensing conflicts - no one else is doing them now... they're all doing Sondheim) .... Here's my vote to check out the great operettas!

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