The acclaimed Opus Two violin-piano duo returns to Feinstein’s/54 Below on Tuesday, November 23 at 7pm for an unforgettable tribute to Stephen Sondheim featuring the New York premiere of A Little Night Music: Suite for Violin and Piano and celebration of the release of their world premiere recording of the same name on Bridge Records (4010). The program also includes I Remember from Sondheim’s television musical Evening Primrose, plus songs from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story, Candide, Peter Pan, and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Opus Two will be joined by special guest Broadway artist, Elena Shaddow. Broadway director, Eric Stern, who created many of the arrangements, will host the evening.
Opus Two’s world premiere release of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music: Suite for Violin and Piano arranged by veteran Broadway composer Eric Stern will be released on November 19. The recording is available for pre-order at https://bridgerecords.bandcamp.com/album/a-little-night-music-suite-for-violin-and-piano and upon release can be streamed on Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, and purchased via iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play, among others.
The four movement suite including Night Waltz, You Must Meet My Wife, A Weekend In The Country, and Send In The Clowns, is based on Stephen Sondheim’s 1973 Tony-award-winning musical A Little Night Music, inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s 1955 film Smiles of a Summer Night. With a limited number of chamber music scores in his catalogue, Sondheim fans will be delighted to welcome this new addition to the violin/piano duo repertoire.
Stern’s imagination and skill capture the charm and flair of each song in this world premiere recording. Says Stern, “I was in college when I first heard the cast album of A Little Night Music, and it is no exaggeration to say that it changed my life. Until then I couldn’t have imagined that a Broadway score could be capable of such lyric and musical sophistication and subtlety. In A Little Night Music Sondheim blends American Musical Theatre tradition with European Operetta sensibilities to create a unique and memorable musical world. I am extremely grateful for Sondheim’s permission to arrange this suite and I hope that, stripped of his poignant, unparalleled lyrics, the brilliance of this music shines through all the more.”
Critics have recognized Opus Two, made up of violinist William Terwilliger and pianist Andrew Cooperstock, for its “divine phrases, impelling rhythm, elastic ensemble, and stunning sounds,” as well as its commitment to expanding the violin-piano duo repertoire. Following their long tradition of championing the works of great American composers, Opus Two recorded works of George Gershwin that reviewers called an “excellent” recording adding that the “performers throw themselves into this fresh look at Gershwin with enthusiasm and enjoyment.”
Opus Two’s growing discography of American music includes recordings dedicated to works by Paul Schoenfield, Aaron Copland, Lowell Liebermann and Leonard Bernstein. In celebration of Bernstein’s centennial, Cooperstock recently released Leonard Bernstein: Complete Solo Works for Piano which was praised by Arts Fuse, “if there’s an essential Leonard Bernstein at 100 album, this is the one; with excellent performances of relatively unknown music deserving to be heard.” Opus Two has performed extensively across six continents. Highlights of recent seasons include two twenty-city US tours across eleven states; performances with the Boulder Chamber Orchestra; and a European tour, which featured the Duo in recital and as concerto soloists in Nice, Monaco, Bern and Geneva, and as invited guests of the US Ambassadors to Switzerland and the United Nations. Festival appearances include the Australian Festival of Chamber Music (Queensland), Piccolo Spoleto (South Carolina), Brevard Music Festival (North Carolina), Round Top International Festival-Institute (Texas), Vianden International Music Festival (Luxembourg), Hell Hot! New Music Festival (Hong Kong), Saarburg International Music Festival (Germany), and Classical Music Festival (Austria).
Eric Stern is a Broadway conductor, arranger, and music supervisor with 19 Broadway musicals to his credit including Shrek, Xanadu, Follies, Parade, and Candide. He has recorded over 30 albums and performed in concert with such artists as Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin and Betty Buckley. He has conducted many of the world’s top orchestras including the London Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, and is a frequent guest conductor of the National Orchestra of Wales. He was awarded an Emmy for his work with PBS, a Grammy and two Gramophone Awards. Elena Shaddow, recognized for her astounding nightingale vocals, has appeared on Broadway and off-Broadway productions, she has toured nationally and performed in concert venues such as London’s Royal Albert Hall, the Fox Theatre in St. Louis and New Jersey’s Papermill Playhouse, among others. Her television credits include performances on the Tony Awards show, and a featured role in the TV presentation of The Sound of Music Live! She has also appeared on CBS’s NCIS: New Orleans, Conviction, Person of Interest, ABC’s Time After Time and the Warner Brother’s film The Intern.
For Listings:OPUS TWO Celebrates Sondheim & Bernstein including New Recording hosted by Eric Stern with special guest Elena ShaddowTuesday November 23rd at 7:00pm (Doors open at 5:30pm)Feinstein’s/54 Below 254 W. 54th Street. To purchase visit https://54below.com/events/opus-two-celebrates-sondheim-bernstein-hosted-by-eric-stern/ or call 646 476-3551.
Events For December
Cabaret, Talks and Concerts For December
Tis the season to be entertained. Here are picks:
92 Street Y: 1395 Lexington Ave. 12/2 – 4: Lyrics & Lyricists In the Key of Life: The Genius of Stevie Wonder. Led by Broadway’s Darius de Haas; 12/5: Recanati-Kaplan Talks Death, Let Me Do My Show: Rachel Bloom in Conversation and 12/14: Sharon Stone and Jerry Saltz Talk About Art.
Birdland Jazz: 315 West 44 St. Every Monday at 5:30 Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks and 9:30pm Jim Caruso’s Cast Party; Every Tuesday at 8:30pm The Lineup with Susie Mosher; Every Saturday at 7pm Eric Comstock with Sean Smith (Bass) & special guest Barbara Fasano (Voice); 12/11: Karen Mason for her annual Christmas show “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!”; 12/12 – 16 Stacy Kent; 12/18: James Barbour returns to Birdland with his annual Holiday Concert: 12/21 – 25: “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” starring Birdland regulars Klea Blackhurst, Jim Caruso and Billy Stritch and 12/28 – 31: Marilyn Maye.
Cafe Carlyle: 35 E 76th St. 12/1 – 9: Sutton Foster; 12/12 – 16: Gavin DeGraw and 12/19 – 31: Michael Feinstein.
Carnegie Hall: 881 7th Ave at 57th St. 12/5: Christmas with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith; 12/6: Dee Dee Bridgewater with Sean Jones and the NYO Jazz All-Star Big Band; 12/13: Michael Feinstein and Jean-Yves Thibaudet and 12/22 – 23: The New York Pops The Best Christmas of All with Norm Lewis
Don’t Tell Mama: 343 W. 46 St.
Dizzys Club Coca Cola: Frederick P. Rose Hall, Broadway at 60th Street.
Alec Wilder Tribute
Devotees of the Great American Songbook have another reason to love living in New York. Yes, cabaret shows of the music of Porter, Rodgers et al abound here of course, but once a year there is a loving tribute to a lesser-known composer. Some of us may have even passed him on West 44th Street as he was leaving his home in the Algonquin Hotel. This dapper gentleman was Alec Wilder, a musician who wrote classical pieces as well as songs. He wrote words and music, and sometimes let the likes of Marshall Barer, Fran Landesman and even Johnny Mercer supply lyrics. There are a few of these titans who can have one foot in Tin Pan Alley and the other in Carnegie Hall. George Gershwin comes to mind immediately; Cole Porter dabbled but reverted to what he could do best. Wilder also wrote American Popular Song/The Great Innovators 1900-1950, a volume respected by those who love the music of that era.
The Friends of Alec Wilder presented their 38th Annual Concert for an audience of seriously devoted fans of Wilder on November 11th at 54 Below.
Mark Walter, FOAW Board Member and son of noted pianist and friend of Wilder’s Cy Walter, introduced Honorary Host Steve Ross, who along with the ever-amiable Eric Comstock interspersed the music with anecdotes about Wilder which rounded out the portrait of the gentleman being painted so effectively by the rest of the cast.
The afternoon began with one of Wilder’s chamber works, presented lovingly by The Wilderness Trio. Eric Comstock followed, summing up Wilder by saying that his music never went out of vogue because it was never in vogue. Wilder is like that secret ingredient that once having tasted it, one yearns for it thereafter. Eric sang four songs, infusing I’ll Wait with his ineffable sass and charm before being joined by his wife, the spunky and gorgeous Barbara Fasano, who made each lyric come to life in ways Wilder would have appreciated. Sean Smith provided bass support, and the trio which has been a mainstay at Birdland illuminated Wilder’s deep emotional grasp of the human condition.
The Wildebeest Wind Quintet followed with the Alice in Wonderland Suite, which showed Wilder at his classically playful best. Jason Henderson carried some of that lightheartedness into his segment, with two songs that benefited from his natural charm and enthusiasm. Steve Ross made the heart ache a bit with his rendition of the plaintive Did You Ever Cross Over to Sneden’s? before closing the program by encouraging everyone to join him in singing I’ll Be Around, perhaps the best known of Wilder’s songs.
If your interest in Alec Wilder has been piqued, visit alecwildermusicandlife.com.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara With The NY Pops
One Night Only: An Evening with Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara with the NY Pops is happening Friday 8pm, at Carnegie Hall. This unique program by NY Pops conductor Steven Reineke, pays homage to earlier icons of stage and screen who teamed up for memorable concerts.
T2C Talks To Paul Iacono, Unfiltered
Actor and writer Paul Iacono, best known for the films Fame, G.B.F., and MTV’s “The Hard Times Of RJ Berger,” returns to The Green Room 42 in “Paul Iacono, Unfiltered,” His bawdy evening of excess and exposé happens tonight Friday, November 17 at 9:30 PM. T2C had a chance to talk to this 3 decade seasoned performer.
Paul Iacono, is best known for his portrayal of the title character on MTV’s “The Hard Times of RJ Berger.” Paul was first featured on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” at age eight, after she discovered his unique talents for impersonating Frank Sinatra and Ethel Merman Favorite stage credits include Mercury Fur (The New Group), Bridget Everett’s Rock Bottom (Joe’s Pub), Noël Coward’s Sail Away with Elaine Stritch (Carnegie Hall), John Guare’s Landscape of the Body with Lili Taylor and Sherie Rene Scott (Signature Theater), and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs with Donna Lynne Champlin and Michele Pawk (Transport Group). Favorite film credits include MGM’s remake of Fame, Drew Barrymore’s Animal, Darren Stein’s G.B.F., Extracurricular Activities, and Dating My Mother with Kathy Najimy. Iacono’s play Prince/Elizabeth premiered at The Teatro LATEA Theater co-starring Sofia Black D’Elia and Peter Vack, and The Last Great Dame (loosely inspired by his relationship with Elaine Stritch) at Jane Friedman’s HOWL! Happening Gallery. His cabaret “Where’s the Fucking Kid?” premiered at 54 Below, with “Psychedelic Hedonism” following at Joe’s Pub (New York Magazine “Critic’s Pick”), and “Psychedelic Playhouse” at The Green Room 42.
Join Paul for a surreal vaudevillian celebration through the highs, lows, and misadventures from his past five years out of the spotlight. Directed by Eric Gilliland and written by Iacono, Paul weaves insanely personal and wildly hilarious moments from Hollywood to 42nd Street and beyond, accompanied onstage by music director Drew Wutke, with music consulting and arrangements by Peter Saxe.
Paul Iacono, Unfiltered on Friday, November 17 at 9:30 PM at The Green Room 42 (570 Tenth Avenue at 42nd Street, on the 4th Floor of Yotel).
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