Syncosradio Africa

From the blog

Simon Keenlyside

Review by James Manheim

American musicals have been performed in London for pretty much as long as there has been such a thing, yet British albums of Broadway songs are considerably rarer than those from the U.S., and usually they tend toward the international sort of spectacle production. Thus it is all the more surprising that British baritone Simon Keenlyside, not previously known for crossover material, has nailed the thing on his first time out. Several factors work in his favor. He does not affect an American accent (which many of these songs wouldn’t have been sung in originally), but he finds a natural melodic flow and articulates the words beautifully. Reviewing the Situation, from Oliver!, is especially interesting:Keenlyside effectively depicts an American put-on of a British accent. He finds an ideal collaborator in soprano Scarlett Strallen, who seems to come at the music from the theatrical side and makes an ideal foil. Keenlyside chooses a fine program of familiar-but-not-overdone numbers, and he benefits from excellent support from the BBC Concert Orchestra under David Charles Abell, who uses sparse arrangements based on original pit-orchestra versions. The best thing of all, though, is an X factor based on the heft Keenlyside gives the material. He sings a couple of numbers from Carousel, the most serious and problematical of all the musicals, and he gets to the human spirit in something as light as Rodgers‘ It Might as Well Be Spring. An ideal gift item for those who enjoy the operatic/musical theater boundary line.