Pro Musica presents: The Best of Broadway

By Michael Pearl

The Best of Broadway comes to San Miguel on the evening of Sunday, October 7, when Pro Musica presents a unique concert of songs from the great musicals of the last half-century, featuring two of Mexico’s top professional opera singers, Rodrigo Garciarroyo and Verónica Alexanderson. Given that Pro Musica is a classical music promoter, why are we doing this? The answer is crossover, the breaking down of barriers between classical and popular music. Think of some of the famous stars of recent years with classically trained voices, who made their reputations in the popular genre, such as Russell Watson and Andrea Bocceli.

Pro Musica concerts presents The Best of Broadway
Sun, Oct 7, 5pm
St. Paul’s Church
Cardo 6
100/200/300 pesos

Crossover goes much further back than that. In the golden age of Italian opera, when Verdi and Puccini were composing, many great singers, including Caruso and Gigli, loved singing popular songs. The heart of that repertoire was, and still is, the beloved Neapolitan arias of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Core Ingrato, Santa Lucia, Torna a Sorrento and Funiculí Funiculá. Pro Musica presented several concerts in 2009 featuring many of these romantic songs.

Moving on to popular music of the second half of the 20th century was a logical next step for us. Not pop music, but songs from the great musicals. One of my all time favorites is West Side Story, Stephen Sondheim’s magical updating of Romeo and Juliet, transposed to New York. Crossover here, too, as the music was written by one of the great classical conductors, Leonard Bernstein. In 2008, I saw the fantastic 50th anniversary U.S. touring production in London. The show was as fresh, exciting and moving as it was when it opened in 1957. I can hardly wait to hear Rodrigo’s magnificent tenor voice singing Maria, and Verónica’s bell-clear mezzo-soprano bringing tears to everyone’s eyes with Somewhere.

Our concert is not just about the older musicals, as many songs from more recent times will be heard. Phantom of the Opera recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, and has played continuously at Her Majesty’s Theater in London since the day it opened. When I saw it there many years ago, the famous chandelier swooping down from the ceiling of the auditorium was a breathtaking coup de theatre. I anticipate that an intense hush will fall over St. Paul’s church when Rodrigo sings the moving and powerful Music of the Night.

Another of my all-time favorites is South Pacific, with its bittersweet tale of cross-cultural relationships, allied with the intensity of wartime dangers. Its enduring appeal is evidenced by the many revivals staged in recent years. I saw a stunning production at the National Theater in London a few years back, with original World War II jeeps roaring across the stage and real palm trees swaying in the fan-produced breeze. Nearly every song in the show is a hit and we will hear several, including the tear-jerker This Nearly Was Mine.

I have only mentioned a fraction of the shows and songs that will be featured in what promises to be a humdinger of an opening concert of our season. Other shows that we will hear music from include The Sound of Music, Man of La Mancha, Candide, Guys & Dolls, Les Miserables, and many more.

You can buy tickets for The Best of Broadway from any of our ticket sales outlets. For this season these will be La Tienda in La Biblioteca, Insurgentes 25; Solutions, Mesones 57; St. Paul’s Church, Calle Cardo 6, Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm; and at the door, half an hour before concert time.


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