We take a break from our regularly scheduled romp through Twelfth Night for a musical interlude!
OK, OK, I'm a big Shakespeare person. Shakespeare Shakespeare Shakespeare. But honestly, if you excavate the layers of my theatrical soul, the bedrock and very foundation of it is operetta, and nothing fulfills my operetta yearnings quite so much as a week at the Ohio Light Opera. As of tomorrow, all seven of their shows, ranging from operetta to early American musical, will be open, and I will be traipsing down there with my family next week to SEE ALL THE SHOWS.
"But what shows are these?" I hear you ask. Well.. let me tell you...
OK, let's get this out of the way: I am a person of Asian extraction who loves Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. Yes, a Victorian comic opera set in Japan is problematic. I see both sides of the issue, but, at the end of the day, I grew up with this music and I love it. Gilbert and Sullivan is in my blood.
SAMPLE SONG: Brightly Dawns Our Wedding Day.
Have a Heart is one of several collaborations between composer Jerome Kern and lyricist (and general literary wit) P.G. Wodehouse. It debuted in 1917, is hardly ever performed nowadays, and, as far as I can tell, has an incredibly stupid plot typical of this era of musicals.
SAMPLE SONG: Couldn't find one on YouTube, which is a pity. There's a song called Napoleon which sounds wonderfully stupid.
Ah! Now this one I have seen. La Vie Parisienne, with music by Jacques Offenbach, has (wait for it) an incredibly stupid plot. I've seen it before at least twice (once at the Ohio Light Opera and once on film) and the only thing I remember is that some guy sings about being from Brazil and another guy's coat splits down the back when he bows over.
I have a Sadler's Wells English recording and it has a song with the immortal lyrics "Her petticoats go frou frou frou, her little feet go tok tok tok, her petticoats go frou frou frou frou frou frou frou frou frou frou frou." Which tells you all you need to know about Offenbach, really.
SAMPLE SONG: Votre Habit à Craqué Dans le Dos (Your Coat is Splitting Down the Back).
This here is classic, self-indulgent, melodramatic light opera plot stuff here. I'm looking forward to it mainly because it's by Welsh songwriter and (later) movie star Ivor Novello, whom you may recall was played with great panache by Jeremy Northam in Gosford Park. I mostly know Novello from his famous World War I song Keep the Home Fires Burning.
SAMPLE SONG: I Can Give You The Starlight.
I have to say, one of my favorite operetta composers is hipster's choice Emmerich Kalman. His Countess Maritza remains one of my favorite operettas of all time. You can always count on Kalman to have a spirited gypsy csardas somewhere in his work. I know absolutely nothing about The Little Dutch Girl except it sounds like such a typical operetta plot and I'm assuming there will be gypsies involved somehow.
SAMPLE SONG: I have no idea!
And that's the Ohio Light Opera's 2016 season! If you're at OLO, keep an eye out for me and come say hello! I'll be there throughout the symposium week, soaking up all the light opera goodness.