Yesterday’s blog blacked out as I was discussing A Little Night Music; so did I. It wasn’t a discussion, really, more of a memoir. (Everything I do seems to bring up a memoir these days.)
Where was I? ...picking up from yesterday when I was so rudely cut off...yes, A Little Night Music is an operetta. I cut my teeth on operettas. My father loved them. He bought seats so close to the stage (in the old Playhouse theatre in Winnipeg) that I had to move my knees to allow room for the violinist’s bow. Romberg, Friml, Franz Lehar, and Victor…who I thought wrote Teddy Bear’s picnic (I can hum it and it starts like this:
"If you go down in the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise / If you go down in the woods today, you'd better go in disguise / For every bear that ever there was will gather there for certain / Because today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic…”
But that was John Walter Bratton (January 21, 1867 – February 7, 1947), an American Tin Pan Alley composer and theatrical producer who became popular during the era known as the Gay Nineties. (Wikipedia)
Oh, yes, and Victor’s name was Herbert, a prolific American (born in Ireland, raised in Germany, 1859-1924). Does anyone remember “Naughty Marietta”?
Who wrote “Desert Song”? Oh, that was Sigmund Romberg.
Does anyone remember Nelson Eddy (“Alone”), or Jeanette McDonald? (“Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life”) who, I just discovered when I looked them up, had a long-term secret love affair The media were more discreet in those days.
Then there were Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keele, later stars of Hollywood musicals. sigh. MGM, as I remember, was the big studio specialising in them.
Ah well, times change.
I’m still thinking about A Little Night Music. Sondheim has graduated to the Vancouver Opera Company with a recent production of Pacific Overtures, and now this one at the Stratford Festival. Graduated isn’t the right word. But he has moved on to posterity and to a permanent place in your memory and mine. Listen to him. Read the lyrics.
Brilliant. (aka Wow)