Categories: Do As The Locals Do, Featured, Music Diva
Contributing Diva: Angela Rocco DeCarlo
Thanks to energetic singer-pianist Michael Feinstein, audiences are enjoying Frank Sinatra’s music, keeping him in memory alive and well, 17 years after his final curtain call and one hundred years after his birth.
We experienced Feinstein’s Sinatra homage at the opening of the Orange County Pacific Symphony’s pop season, November 6-7, at the Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Costa Mesa, California.
It was terrifically fun. Soprano Jessica Rivera opened the evening with a lovely mix of Broadway tunes.
After intermission of 25 minutes, Feinstein showered the audience with an 80 minute show – after which many were wishing for more.
Recalling Sinatra’s one hundred years is a good reason to celebrate a career that spanned the better part of the 20th century, though his contemporary, Perry Como, is said to have remarked about Sinatra – “We used to be the same age, but now he’s younger than me.” Como was born in 1912. Apparently,a Sinatra agent shaved some time from Sinatra in the early years, not an uncommon thing to do. And at this stage it hardly matters..
Michael Feinstein, resurrecting Sinatra’s song selections, with the magnificent 88-piece Pacific Symphony Pops Orchestra, conducted by Richard Kaufman, conjured the aura of awe and appreciation for the creators of the music embodied in the Great American Songbook – melodic and memorable.
Music lovers owe a debt of gratitude to Mr.Feinstein for taking on the role of keeper of the flame of American popular music. He acts as archivist and anthropologist for preserving and performing these wonderful familiar songs of the past 60 years. His work as artistic director, Palladium Center for the Performing Arts, Carmel, Indiana, includes the Great American Arts Festival. High school students take part and his show included a charming teenage vocalist from the event – Katriona Kennedy- singing “Sentimental Journey.”
Opera has its international houses which dutifully mount productions to keep the art form alive, but there is no such infrastructure for the fabulous music of American popular standards Feinstein fills this role with his performances and other work, including his shows of the golden era of Frank Sinatra. His diligent devotion ensures the best chance for preserving this body of music for future generations.
Feinstein’s performance of Sinatra’s best-known melodies was a frothy mix including “Time after Time,” “Lady is a Tramp,” “My Kind of Town,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” and a concluding medley wrapping up some which had been left out, such as “You Make Me Feel So Young,” “Come Fly With Me,” “All Or Nothing At All, ” and others…however, there was no “My Way.” That was understandable, as it is so personally connected to Sinatra own life in audience’s memories.
The fabulous instrumental rendition, with Feinstein at the piano, of the 1939 song, “Brazil,” by Ary Barrosa, echoed the interior design of the concert hall…wave upon wave of undulating aural thrills. In the early 1940s it played over a million times on American radio. It is a piece the orchestra should consider using in future concerts. It is a great gift to audiences.
Michael Feinstein’s Sinatra Centennial show is thoroughly entertaining. He is engaging, witty and enjoyable in his singing and spirited piano accompaniment – he does well by Sinatra and the audience relished the collective memories.
Future performances are scheduled:
Dec 3 – Symphony Hall – Atlanta, GA
Dec 11 – Music Center atStrathmore–North Bethesda,MD
Dec 12 – Prudential Hall – Newark, NJ
Jan 27 – KravisCenter – West Palm Beach, FL
Jan 29 – Dr. Phillips Center – Orlando, FL
Feb 18 – Van Wezel – Sarasota, FL
@2015 Angela Rocco DeCarlo