Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leah Crocetto at the Rex

I felt privileged to be among the 80 or so people at soprano Leah Crocetto's sold out appearance in the intimate Salon at the Rex. Instead of giving us a printed program, Ms. Crocetto announced all her selections. She was very genuine as she told us the stories behind why these were her favorite songs, & she frequently cited her father as an important influence on her musical taste. She sang in 5 languages (plus a vocalise) & moved easily from art songs & opera to jazz & musical theater.

Ms. Crocetto discretely scaled her large voice to the room. At the end of Rachmaninoff's "How Fair This Spot," she pulled a floating high note out of the air as easily as if she had plucked a piece of ripe fruit from a tree. She gave some of the low notes in Faure's "Apres Un Reve" a lovely dark color. Her "O Mio Babbino Caro" was taut & just pouty enough. Her singing of the popular selections was completely natural & idiomatic, & she did not sound like an opera singer at all when doing these. Indeed, by the time she got into "The Man That Got Away", I felt like I was in an Upper West Side apartment at 1am, crying into my 3rd scotch.

Many times Ms. Crocetto mentioned her close connection with her accompanist Tamara Sanikidze, saying that they are almost like the same person. Ms. Sanikidze has a way of getting deep into the keys, & Strauss's "Morgen" song inspired exceptionally sensitive playing. She deserves a page turner, though, so that she does not have to whip the pages so violently herself.

The salon is right next to the kitchen, & the noise bleeds through. After we heard a lot of clanging cutlery during the Strauss, Ms. Crocetto noted, "We had a little rhythm section for that!" The audience was vociferous in their appreciation for Ms. Crocetto, even resorting to whooping. The Opera Tattler & John Marcher were in attendance, & I joined them for a drink afterward, where we were treated to an impressively irritable performance by the hotel's bartender.

§ Salons at the Hotel Rex
Leah Crocetto, soprano
Tamara Sanikidze, piano

Wednesday, October 20 6:30pm
Hotel Rex

FLOYD: "Ain't It A Pretty Night" from Susannah
RACHMANINOFF: Twilight, Op. 21, No. 3; How Fair This Spot, Op. 21, No. 7; Vocalise, Op. 14
STRAUSS: Morgen, Op. 27, No. 4
FAURE: Apres Un Reve, Op. 7, No. 1
PUCCINI: "O Mio Babbino Caro" from Gianni Schicchi
BARBER: Sure On This Shining Night, Op. 13, No. 3
GREGORY PEEBLES: From Shamus (Who Wanted To Be Hospitable)
MARTIN & BLAINE: "The Boy Next Door" from Meet Me In St. Louis
ARLEN: "The Man That Got Away" from A Star Is Born
HARNICK & BOCK: "When Did I Fall In Love" from Fiorello!
HOWARD: "Fly Me To The Moon"
KERN: "All The Things You Are" from Very Warm for May
TESORI: "Girl in 14G"

RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN: "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel

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