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Blackwell Sings Bernstein: A Simple Song

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Album Review

The challenge in singing Leonard Bernstein's songs, which veer between the opera house and the musical theatre, is to meet the technical requirements of the former while conveying the vivacity of the latter. Harolyn Blackwell, who began her career singing "Somewhere" in West Side Story, tones down the often energetic music in calm arrangements for small ensembles, and sings feelingly. But she misses Bernstein's showiness and humor (notably on an unamusing "Glitter and Be Gay") until she hooks up with pop/Broadway singer Vanessa Williams for a medley of West Side Story songs, which pleasantly undercuts her otherwise sober interpretations, even if Williams steals the show.


Born: November 23, 1955 in Washington, D.C.

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '90s

Metropolitan Opera soprano Harolyn Blackwell began her performing career in a Broadway revival of West Side Story in 1980. She was selected as a finalist for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and made her mark at the opera in 1994, when she became a last-minute replacement in La Fille du Regiment. Since then, she has become one of the world's top touring sopranos....
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Blackwell Sings Bernstein: A Simple Song, Harolyn Blackwell
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