Anna Bergman “You and the Night and the Music” at Feinstein’s | T2C Online

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Anna Bergman “You and the Night and the Music” at Feinstein’s

Reviewed by Joe Regan Jr.

 

 

 

 

*photos by  Russ Weatherford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Bergman, who has performed several times in the past few years at Feinstein’s at the Loews Regency, is currently presenting a new show You and the Night and the Music subtitled “An Evening of Musical Imports and Exports.”  With terrific music support by Alex Rybeck, her musical director on piano and Jered Egan on bass, the show is directed by award winning performer, Jeff Harnar.  When Bergman enters singing the title song, she is dressed in a sleek black dress with sparkling earrings and dangling necklace, her gown split so you can see her black sheer silk stocking clad legs.  On stage she explains that she is actually both an “import” and “export,” because her father was an American diplomat.  She was born in Paris, spent time in Rome and was in Vienna from age eight to thirteen and first came to the United States and specifically, Washington, D.C., in her late teens.  She learned to speak French, German, Italian and other foreign languages in her classical music classes, learning many opera scores in their original language.

“Far Away Places” begins the musical travelogue in this act, and she substitutes several exotic U.S. cities in the lyrics, like Cleveland, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Des Moines.  Because she was born in Paris, she sings Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris.”   Then she does a very funny song from A…My Name Is Alice entitled “French Song” which is very similar to Ray Jessel’s Parisian song in similar rhymes.  She also sings in French “Sous Le Ciel De Paris” as Rybeck plays Erik Satie’s “Gymnopedies,” which is an inspired counter-melody for her beautiful phrasing of the song.

Bergman explains that when she was in Vienna she found, in her parents’ record collection, an album of Marlene Dietrich singing songs in German, most of them American classics.   These songs were recorded and sung by Dietrich and used as propaganda to Nazi soldeirs on underground radio.  She was startled to hear German lyrics to one song that was dedicated to the widows and mothers of young German soldiers recruited for the war.  The German lyric to Fred E. Alhert and Roy Turk’s “Mean To Me” was written by Lothar Metzl and is entitled “Sei Lieb Zu Mir.”  Draping herself on a stool revealing her great legs, Bergman began singing in German, only reverting to the English lyrics on the second chorus, and then returning to the German which was strikingly effective, especially because she had told us what those lyrics meant.  Bergman followed that by explaining the German lyrics to Franz Lehar‘s “Vilia” from The Merry Widow and letting her classically trained soprano soar with meaning into that lyric.  However, in the middle of her aria, she suddenly started singing English lyrics, which were a translation of the German.  She confessed afterwards they were written by Broadway lyricist Sheldon Harnick!

Bergman then discussed the problems of meeting eligible single men in New York .  She told all the women the answer is “Location Location Location!”   She then wittily sang Francesca Blumenthal and Addy Fieger’s “Museum,” which has lots of funny lyrics about the kind of men who look at specific types of paintings and Bergman elicited big laughs from the audience.  Then she used her operatic soprano to soar all over the room with Cole Porter’s “I Love Paris,” including the rarely sung verse.

John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane” was plaintively sung about having to leave whatever romantic relationships she had in Europe when she came to the United States at age 17.  It went right into Carol King’s “So Far Away” which expressed the same kind of heartbreak.  These two songs led into her “Prince of Dreams Medley”  which ranged from Snow White’s “Someday My Prince Will Come” to Irving Berlin’s “Old Fashioned Wedding” (cleverly acting draping herself in jewelry,) to ultimately her singing humorously and flawlessly, without mic, Leonard Bernstein and Richard Wilbur‘s “Glitter and Be Gay.”

After that tour de force, Bergman expressed her admiration for Adam Guettel, Richard Rodger’s grandson, and explained the story behind “Fable” from Light in the Piazza.  She sang it gently and emotionally and with her full acting skills, and followed it with a beautiful song from Maury Yeston’s  Phantom entitled “Home.”  It was during these two songs, I realized Bergman has the vocal power that she could have easily done the whole act without mic.

Her penultimate song was the Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” which she sung with its rare verse and some beautiful French lyrics!  At the end of this song, she received a standing ovation from the sold out house.

Her encore, sans mic, was a perfect Puccini‘s “Musetta’s Waltz” from La Boheme.  Because the gorgeous Feinstein’s room is closing at the end of the year, this is your last chance to see Bergman in her ideal setting and I urge you not to miss her.

Anna Bergman’s You and the Night and the Music repeats at Feinstein’s October 28 and 29.  All shows are at 8 PM.  For Reservations call 212 339-4095.

Anna Bergman’s You and the Night and the Music repeats at Feinstein’s October 28 and 29.  All shows are at 8 PM.  For Reservations call 212 339-4095.

Anna Bergman’s website is www.AnnaBergman.com

 

 

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