This recording will make you smile. Two of the most accomplished opera singers of the twentieth century turn their attention to some of the best known songs from Broadway musicals, and the effect is ‘Wunderbar’!
Cesare Siepi was a prolific recording artist on 78rpm records before making a number of outstanding LP sets for Decca. His voice was a classic ‘basso cantante’ – a singing or lyric bass with good upper reach. Being more than six feet tall and with handsome physique, he cut an impressive figure on stage. He brought a dignity to everything he performed. He was a lover of Cole Porter songs and as can be heard on this recording, enunciated them without a trace of an Italian accent. The lines are delivered with directness and warmth and with a welcome absence of sentimentality. His tone is dark, smooth and rich and his style is subtle and elegant.
George London began his singing studies in Los Angeles and, by the 1940s, was touring with a trio that included Frances Yeend and Mario Lanza. The Bel Canto Trio performed 86 concerts of operatic arias and ensembles throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico between July 1947 and May 1948. The Broadway songs recorded by London in 1957 reveal a singer willing to explore unusual (for an operatic bass-baritone) material and to invest in it a rich, powerful voice, a subtle array of vocal colours and sensitivity to the character of each piece.
Both LPs were recorded with the Roland Shaw Orchestra, a light music orchestra active in the 1950s. Shaw became an arranger and record producer for Decca Records with his orchestra recording for Decca and its Phase 4 series.
The Gay Divorcee: Night and Day
Kiss Me Kate: So in Love
Born to Dance: I’ve Got You under My Skin
Something to Shout About: You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To
Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbyea
Kiss Me Kate: Wunderbar
Begin the Beguine
Easy to Love
Anything Goes: I Get a Kick Out of You
Mexican Hayride: I Love You
Rosalie: In the Still of the Night
Anything Goes: Blow, Gabriel Blow
Cesare Siepi, bass
The Roland Shaw Orchestra
Oklahoma!: Oh! What A Beautiful Mornin’
Oklahoma!: The Surrey With The Fringe On Top
South Pacific: This Nearly Was Mine
Carousel: If I Loved You
Paint Your Wagon: They Call The Wind Maria
Brigadoon: There But For You Go I
My Fair Lady: On The Street Where You Live
Knickerbocker Holiday: September Song
Very Warm For May: All The Things You Are
Show Boat Ol‘ Man River
George London, baritone
The Roland Shaw Orchestra
Recordings: London, UK, 1957 (London), July 1958 (Siepi)