Giving the concert the title "All about musical" made my inner activist for European musicals grunt, because the better title would have been "All about Anglo-American musical", but let's not get into that. ;-) I'm so unfamiliar with the Broadway classics that it's almost embarrassing to admit it, but the concert was a great quick start guide on them for me.
The songs went chronologically all the way from the early musicals of 1920's to My Fair Lady, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Book of Mormon, from classical to pop and rock, with songs like "The Phantom of the Opera" that are familiar to everyone and other songs that get quite rarely performed. The balance between old and new and well-known and specialities was good, there was something for everyone. The concert was accompanied by a 20-piece live orchestra, and altogether there were about 50 people on stage. Apart from some familiar faces I have no idea about the names of the singers and dancers, but they were all excellent. I hope at least some of them will later end up to Finnish theatre stages. Some already have, because I spotted at least Essi Hannuksela, the gorgeous dream-Sarah from Tanz der Vampire in Seinäjoki, among the dancers. (Some rehearsal photos in her blog.)
|The company from The Company. (Source)|
The highlight of the first part was an abridged half-an-hour version of Stephen Sondheim's Company. I have mixed opinions on Sondheim: I worship his storytelling and lyric-writing skills, but his music mostly does nothing to me. I've tried and tried to give his compositions a chance and I know they're hugely appreciated for a good reason, but while his music pretty and all, I just don't get into it. This Sondheim Shortened way of getting to know his musicals was perfect for me. They also sang it in Finnish, and at least without knowing the original text I liked the translation, it had some very funny moments. The performers acted and sang very well, and the whole sequence was excellently done.
My other favourites were the My Fair Lady section (in Finnish) with the most adorable Freddie ever, "Macavity" from Cats, "Do you hear the people sing" from Les Misérables and the hilarious "Hello Song" from The Book of Mormon. There were also some really beautiful older pieces, but unfortunately I don't remember the song names. The dramatizing was mostly very well done, and I liked the orchestrations and the orchestra. Some of the costumes looked understandably a bit cheap, but otherwise there wasn't any feeling of a "student-like" atmosphere: everything was professional.
(For those interested in my opinion on the epic and eternal Who Is The King Of Musicals war between fans of Sondheim and Andrew Lloyd Webber: I'm for neither. I respect them both, like some things in both's work and appreciate their influence on the various genres of musical, but neither is my personal favourite.)
|"Somebody loves me..." (Source)|
On a totally unrelated note, Les Misérables will come to Tampereen Teatteri in 2013, and someone has created a petition for a new Finnish translation. I got into the musical fandom about ten years ago, and already then I heard legends of the horrible Finnish translation of Les Mis. In the golden Geocities times there was even a website with some of the song lyrics, and now they're serving as Finnish subtitles on the 25th Anniversary Concert DVD. The legend seems to be true: the translation is (unintentionally) rather hilarious and often impossible to understand. As a phenomenon this sudden awareness of musical translation quality is interesting - people actually demand for better texts, and at least in this case it's not because of the "it's a translation so it sucks" attitude.