Blog Archives

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, master singer of German art songs, dies at 86.

Fischer-Dieskau & Bernstein

I saw this morning that the famous German baritone Fischer-Dieskau died, and while he doesn’t relate, probably, to my current readers’ album collections, there was a time when I was in college that his voice had me entranced.

D F-D was what was known as a Lieder Singer, a performer of a certain type of folk song. He also performed in Wagnerian operas…famous for his portrayal of Parsifal.

Here’s a sample of D F-D for those who didn’t know his artistry… or for those who do and who will miss him:

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This is turning into a week of loss… Arthur Laurents, giant of Broadway writers, dies at 93…

Arthur Laurents earlier this year.

He wrote the libretti to Gypsy, West Side Story, Anyone Can Whistle, Hallelujah, Baby, La Cage Au Folles and the plays Home of the Brave, The Time of the Cuckoo and The Bird Cage, among so many others.  In 1973 he wrote the screenplay for the Redford/Streisand film The Way We Were. In his very early career he wrote for radio, especially the Lux Playhouse.

Arthur Laurents was the Dean of Broadway writers, working with other greats like Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Robbins and Leonard Bernstein. He was also a director of stature, often directing productions he had written.

From the NY Daily News:

His agent, Jonathan Lomma, said Laurents died “peacefully in his sleep.”

Lomma told the Los Angeles Times that Laurents upon his death wanted it noted that “he was predeceased by his partner, Tom Hatcher, with whom he had lived in happiness for more than 50 years.”

He worked right up the end of his life. In 2008 he directed the Broadway revival of Gypsy starring Patty LuPone, for which he won the Tony for Best Director of a Musical.
He died of complications from pneumonia.
This is someone who will really be missed… whose career provided so much for so many other creative people.

“Candide” at Shepherd

Just returned from watching the last Dress Rehearsal of Shepherd’s production of “Candide”, the great operetta by Leonard Bernstein ( and Hugh Wheeler, Lillian Hellman, John LaTouche, Richard Wilbur, Dorothy Parker and Stephen Sondheim.)

For a student production it was pretty good… the Candide and Cunegunde were excellent and the rest of the cast certainly could sing.

This is a difficult show for student performers… hell, it’s a difficult show for professionals, and this cast, chorus and orchestra did a fine job. The staging was based on the Lonny Price concert production that was done with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center, also seen on PBS. This is a fairly tight version and keeps the orchestra onstage throughout the show.

It runs for the next two weekends at Shepherd University. Go see it.

Shepherd University is doing one of my all-time favorite musicals…

…Candide is coming in February. For those of you in the Shepherd, WV, area who are not familiar with this, what I think is Leonard Bernstein‘s best show, here is Bernstein himself conducting the Overture shortly before he died. Just a taste to get you interested: