Francis Poulenc / Show Boat
On this day in classical music: French composer and pianist Francis Poulenc was born in Paris in 1899. Poulenc joined Darius Milhaud, Arthur Honegger, Germaine Tailleferre, Georges Auric and Louis Durey as a member of the popular group known as “Les Six.” During his early professional career, Poulenc took an irreverent approach to composition, often incorporating Parisian music hall tunes in his works. From the mid 1930s until his death in 1963, Poulenc was strong influenced by his Catholic faith with much of his music having religious overtones. He left a large body of works, including music for piano, voice, chorus and orchestra. His “Dialogues of the Carmelites” has become a popular staple in the opera house. Listen to Pascal Roge perform the finale (Rondo a la Francaise) of Poulenc’s “Piano Concerto” with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Charles Dutoit conducts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ94mpkSqnw
On this day in the musical theatre: The 1994 revival of Jerome Kern’s “Show Boat” closed on Broadway in 1997 after a 949-performance run. Based on Edna Ferber’s bestselling novel of the same name, the musical follows the lives of the performers, stagehands, and dock workers on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River show boat from 1887 to 1927. Its themes include racial prejudice and tragic, enduring love. The musical contributed such classic songs as “Ol’ Man River,” “Make Believe” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man.” Directed by Harold Prince, the 1994 revival placed a strong emphasis on the musical’s racial elements. A staple of the musical theater since its premiere in 1927, “Show Boat” has been subjected to countless interpretations over the years. Not surprisingly, no two productions of “Show Boat” feature the same play list. For the 1994 revival, Prince transformed “Why Do I Love You?” from a duet between Magnolia and Ravenal to a lullaby sung by Parthy Ann to Magnolia’s baby girl. The change was partly to accommodate the performance of Parthy Ann by stage actress Elaine Stritch. The revival earned five Tony Awards, including one as best revival. Listen to Tammy Amerson and Stritch perform “Why Do I Love You” and “Kim’s Charleston” from “Show Boat” on the 1995 Tony Award broadcast. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fezEtQ_yHY
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