Friday, January 1, 2010

Cleveland Pops Orchestra: New Year's Eve (Broadway Rocks)

Of the four years I've lived in Cleveland I've done the CPO's New Year's Eve concert thrice. (2007, 2009, 2010). I don't really remember 2007 and was unmoved (to put it kindly) by 2009... but if this concert is a harbinger of things to come 2010 should be a good year.

My box and the adjoining box was shared with a family of 10 who was doing the concert for the first time... and wow, could that family have a good time. To give you an idea: The two older women were doing it disco style during I Will Survive which was just plain hysterical (it took effort to control my laughter, a rarety) -- two of the guys replaced the O-H-I-O sequences in Sloopy Hang On with Z-O-N-A (apparently they're PAC 10 fans)... And how can I forget the hand gestures at key points in the Greese medley? During You Can't Stop The Beat the ladies were swing dancing in the back of the box like they had their original hips.

That pretty well set the tone for the evening -- just plain fun for all ages and completely relaxed atmosphere... the meistro's chatter was kept to a reasonable level and the orchestra was fantastic. The soloists, likewise, were pleasant to listen to and interacted well with the orchestra (this was my chief complaint with regard to last year when it seemed like the "guests" dominated the program to the detriment of the orchestra)
The program was thoroughly enjoyable -- I would have love a few more pieces, but the selections were well played. I think the Grease Medley was my favorite, but Oh What A Night was enjoyable if for no other reason than the memories* -- and seeing the work performed by a full orchestra*. Also Sprach Zarathustra was fun, but seemed to lack the same depth that the piece took on when played earlier in 2009 by the Cleveland Orchestra.
Happy 2010!
(The image above was one of the first taken with a digital camera that mysteriously appeared on my doorstep two days ago ;) ... I'm still getting used to it)
The Program
Carl Topilow, Conductor; Capatha Jenkins and J. Mark McVey vocalists
R. Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra
Gaudio: Oh, What A Night (from Jersey Boys)
Krieger & Enyen: And I Am Tellin' You (from Dreamgirls)
J. Strauss: Fuerfest Polka
Schreiner: Immer Kleiner
Beethoven: Turkish March
Strouse, arr. Muller: Bye, Bye Birdie (medley)
Schonberg: Bring Him Home (from Les Miserables)
Peren & Fekaris: I Will Survive
Ebb & Kander: All That Jazz (from Chicago)
Ashman: Suddenly Seymour (from Little Shop of Horrors)
Wildborn & Bricusse: This Is The Moment (from Jekyll & Hyde)
Jacobs & Case, arr. Custer: Greese (Medley)
Farrell & Russell, arr. Cerulli: Hang On Sloopy
Anderson: Syncopated Clock
John & Rice: Circle of Life (from Lion King)
Shaiman & Wittman: You Can't Stop The Beat (from Hairspray)
* - Ok, so the memories and orchestra thing kind of go hand in hand: I had seen Jersey Boys twice (perhaps three times, but I only positively remember two) during its debut at the La Jolla Playhouse prior to making the leap to Broadway & the national tour. At one performance, Des McAnuff (the director for all three versions) and Frankie Valli were several rows in front of me. The show is played with a very small orchestra -- 13 musicians -- and it was interesting to see/hear the piece with a full orchestra.

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