Music and Dance Reviews : Kunzel Conducts Cole Porter at the Hollywood Bowl
Erich Kunzel has become something of a Hollywood Bowl fixture: The pops maestro has been making annual visits to Cahuenga Pass since 1983. For the last couple of summers, his programs have been salutes to Broadway, and Friday’s concert (repeated Saturday) followed that pattern with a “Cole Porter Celebration.”
Kunzel knows how to pace a program, alternating styles and tempos, allowing just enough applause before moving on to the next selection and programming an ensemble number every so often.
Each of the three soloists on this occasion sang with assured polish and potent vibrancy, aided by a generally cooperative sound system. Katherine Terrell, Lewis Dale von Schlanbusch and Neil Jones delivered the words with utter clarity, to which they added delightfully entertaining, frequently humorous stage motions.
Throughout the evening one was reminded of how extraordinarily witty a lyricist Porter was; songs such as “Let’s Do It” (from “Paris”) “You’re the Top” (from “Anything Goes”) and “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” (from “Kiss Me, Kate”) attest both to that and his genius as a melodist.
Forty members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale brought vitality and expression to the ensemble selections, although their words did not always emerge clearly.
Kunzel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic began each half with a propulsively delivered overture consisting of some effective, uncredited arrangements. During the vocal selections, the orchestra played with precision and sensitivity, reinforcing but never overshadowing the soloists.
A few of the 12,552 listeners could not resist humming along with the music.