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John Gay : The Beggar's Opera
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Détails sur le produit
Liste des titres
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Descriptions du produit
John Gay (?1685-1732) : Beggar's Opera / Bob Hoskins (voix parlées) - Sarah Walker (soprano) - Roger Bryson (basse) - Charles Daniels (ténor) - Anne Dawson (soprano) - Sarah Walker (mezzo-soprano) - Adrian Thompson (ténor) - Richard Jackson (baryton) - Catherine Wyn-Rogers (alto) - Ian Caddy (baryton-basse) - Bronwen Mills (soprano) - Ian Honeyman (ténor) - Broadside Band - Jeremy Barlow
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Back in 1981, Jeremy Barlow & a handful of players from The Broadside Band joined 2 fine singers (Patrizia Kwella & Paul Elliot) in a charming CD that juxtaposed a few of the original songs with Gay's versions (Harmonia Mundi HMA 1951071). This ambitious 1994 follow-up, though well-performed & full of enjoyable moments, is frankly disappointing, & I can't help feeling here & there that everyone has bit off a bit more than they can chew. True, all the singers have been well coached in the dialogue, & all have their good moments - I like Richard Jackson's clenched-teeth Lockit very much - but to my ears only Sarah Walker has the size of personality & technical expertise to nail every single one of her lines square on its head easily. Elsewhere the effort shows, especially in Adrian Thompson's Macheath, which though hardworking lacks charm & charisma - he seems miscast. Sometimes one feels that the cast are treating Gay's text as if it were a serious slice-of-life view of the seamy side of London life, rather than a huge, cynical put-on (like its illustrious descendant, the Kander/Ebb/Fosse musical 'Chicago').
Musically, things are solid, as one would expect, yet even here I would question Barlow's decision to double the vocal line in almost every solo number with violins. To my ears it puts everyone in a metrical strait-jacket. This may have historical precedent, but surely a cast of professional singers, unlike actors, hardly needs the help? Again & again I felt that the few songs accompanied only by continuo - Polly's 'O ponder well' for one - gave the performers far more room for expressiveness.
Maybe I'm being too harsh, & certainly anyone interested in the history of the English popular musical theater will want to hear this, since at the very least it's a valuable reference edition. But I'm not sure it's going to come off my shelf as often as the Sargent/Austin version (Classics for Pleasure) or Benjamin Britten's genuinely operatic adaptation (Argo & Pearl); 'inauthentic' they may be, but expertly performed & full of gusto, fun & fierceness as well.