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O'Hara, Gunn fire up Broadway classics at NY Phil

O'Hara, Gunn fire up Broadway classics at NY Phil

She is one of this generation's brightest Broadway stars, and he is a much-admired opera singer.
But Kelli O'Hara and Nathan Gunn both dabble in the other's specialty, too _ pretty darned well. As it happens, they also share some potent star power and a palpable mutual chemistry.
And so it's hard to imagine more appealing casting for an evening of Broadway classics than their pairing Monday evening at the New York Philharmonic, where the two joined conductor Ted Sperling for a romp through musicals of the 1940s and 1950s.
Both singers have had fabulously successful outings with the same orchestra. O'Hara, now a three-time Tony nominee, most recently for her Nellie Forbush in "South Pacific," was just becoming famous in 2007 when she performed a memorable Eliza Doolittle in the Philharmonic's "My Fair Lady," wowing with her supple soprano in "I Could Have Danced All Night."
And Gunn was unanimously declared swoon-worthy when he brought his golden baritone to the role of Lancelot in the 2008 "Camelot" revival.
The singers lived up to their sterling reputations right out of the gate Monday evening with a soaring "If I Loved You" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel." ("Wow!" pronounced their conductor afterward.)
"Make Believe" from "Show Boat" was next, before the evening moved on to Cole Porter and his classic musical comedy "Kiss Me Kate," including the amusing "Wunderbar" and the wistful "So in Love."
Both singers were in gorgeous voice, and one wondered whether they really needed all the amplification they were given. Often, singers struggle to hold their own with this huge orchestra, but the powerful Gunn and O'Hara have chops that few others do.
Gunn seemed to be greatly enjoying the chance to be down-to-earth and funny, and he displayed an appealing comic persona in songs such as Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner's "This Is the Life" from "Love Life," in which a divorced man sings with less-than-believable bluster of how much better single life is.
And O'Hara, changing out of a stunning bright red one-shoulder gown to a more subdued navy and an upswept do for Act 2, earned her biggest cheers of the night with the fiendishly difficult "Glitter and Be Gay," Leonard Bernstein's showpiece aria from "Candide." Luckily, she had serious operatic training to fall back on.
The two had a ball with the zany "Carried Away" from Bernstein's "On the Town," a paean to uncontrolled impulses that had O'Hara madly kissing Gunn at one point. And Gunn went to town with "Lonely Town," that show's gorgeous ballad for a lonely sailor in New York.
The orchestra had a great night, too, particularly with a stellar rendition of the symphonic dance to "Somewhere" from "West Side Story."
And speaking of "West Side Story," O'Hara and Gunn closed, as the moon grew bright, with a version of "Tonight" that brought many to their feet.
Would that it could indeed have been an "endless night."
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Online:
http://nyphil.org


Updated : 2021-03-09 04:09 GMT+08:00