Adam Plachetka and the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra back on Broadway
The Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra has lined up an attractive concert at Forum Karlín for Friday 22 April. Entitled “Adam Plachetka on Broadway II”, the evening of wonderful show tunes performed by the first-class bass-baritone and Vienna State Opera soloist is sure to delight everyone, not just lovers of musicals. For the second time, the musicians and performers will bring together distinctive musical worlds, this time under the baton of Robert Jindra.
Kiri Te Kanawa, Renée Fleming, Natalie Dessay, José Carreras, Thomas Hampson, Bryn Terfel… One thing linking all these opera superstars is their love of a genre that some classical music fans regard as lowbrow or unsophisticated. But stage performances and recordings by these artists – and not just them – have proved that musicals deserve their place in the sun. In addition, the classic tunesmiths of Broadway musical theatre like George Gershwin, Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers have earned their place in the history books alongside the great composers of symphonies and famous operas. What’s more, many musicals by Kurt Weill, Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein have deservedly become a standard part of the repertoires of opera houses. So why not join us to experience some Broadway hits presented in a classical package?
Bass-baritone Adam Plachetka, one of our few internationally successful opera singers, has been drawn to musicals for a long time. So when he released a CD with the title “Impossible Dream” in 2017, featuring his renditions of the biggest Broadway hits of the fifties and sixties to the accompaniment of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra and conductor Tomáš Netopil, he easily persuaded even highly sceptical listeners that his natural voice and his style were ideally suited to this genre. Both the album and the concert at Forum Karlín in Prague met with deserved acclaim, so it was only a matter of time before Adam Plachetka would take another trip down Broadway. And it won’t be long now. On 22 April 2022, the singer and the radio orchestra will return to the venue.
This time the orchestra will be conducted by Robert Jindra. The audience can look forward to more songs from the world of musical theatre from the 1920s to the present day.
The Oldest Generation
The oldest generation of Broadway composers will be represented by Nacio Herb Brown. His name might not be familiar, even to the biggest fans of show tunes, but there’s no doubt you know his most famous song, Singin’ in the Rain from 1929. As the Czech version with lyrics by Jiří Voskovec and Jan Werich shows, this song travelled all over the world long before World War II. The song and its author only became truly immortal, though, when the movie of the same name featuring Gene Kelly’s unforgettable dancing was released in 1952.
The concert will feature another famous song from the movie, Make ’em Laugh, and the musical overture, arranged for the concert – like all the other numbers – by Lukáš Sommer. The overture from Kiss Me, Kate from 1948 will pay homage to the legendary Cole Porter. Richard Rodgers, Adam Plachetka’s favourite show tune composer who wrote the lion’s share of the songs on the previous CD, this time provides the songs Something Wonderful from The King and I from 1951 and Edelweiss from The Sound of Music from 1959. Other hit musicals from the fifties include Frederick Loewe’s My Fair Lady (1956) and The Music Man (1957) by Meredith Wilson – these shows are the source of the tunes With a Little Bit of Luck and Seventy-six Trombones respectively.
The sixties are represented by the relatively restrained Hello Dolly by Jerry Herrman from 1964, whose overture will be performed during the concert, while 1970 brought the first of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock operas, Jesus Christ Superstar, from which Adam Plachetka picked the numbers Pilate’s Dream and Herod’s Song. Just one year later Casey Warren’s Grease hit Broadway, with the famous movie version released in 1978. All Grease fans are sure to remember the song Beauty School Dropout. Claude Michel Schönberg’s Les Misérables was a musical sensation that came out of France in 1980, and Adam Plachetka will sing the famous Master of the House from that show. Another musical by the same author was Miss Saigon (1989), which provides the song Bui Doi. Tanz der Vampire (1997) by Jim Steinman and Michael Kunze, is another remarkable European musical, and here Adam Plachetka will switch from English to German to perform the songs Gott ist Tot and Unstillbare Gier. The singer will return to the movies with Evermore by Alan Meneken from Beauty and the Beast from 1991. Two songs from works from the turn of the century will round off the concert: Frank Wildorn’s This is the Moment from Jekyll and Hyde (1997) and You Won’t Succeed on Broadway from John Du Prez and Eric Idle’s Spamalot (2005).
Forum Karlín, 22 April 2022 at 7:30 p.m.