Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Bravo Giovanni (1962 Original Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Classical bass Cesare Siepi made his Broadway debut with this 1962 show. Haven't heard of it? No wonder; it closed after 76 performances. Set in Rome, the show has a convoluted plot that involves the rivalry between two re... more »
Classical bass Cesare Siepi made his Broadway debut with this 1962 show. Haven't heard of it? No wonder; it closed after 76 performances. Set in Rome, the show has a convoluted plot that involves the rivalry between two restaurants, one a mom-and-pop trattoria, the other a chainlike establishment. Siepi doesn't do so well with the farcical show tunes ("Breachy's Law"), but he lets it rip on such songs as "If I Were the Man" and the vivacious "We Won't Discuss It." (One can only dream of what might have happened to him had he been cast in, say, South Pacific.) As is so often true in musicals, the women steal the show. As Giovanni's brassy love interest, Michele Lee belts out "I'm All I've Got" and "Steady, Steady," a song so good that it could have been written by Jule Styne (a swinging version from Lee's 1966 solo album is a bonus track here). Those who don't care much for mock Italianate shenanigans should go straight for Maria Kornilova's "The Kangaroo," a delirious number in which she goes over various dances ("You hop! You hop! You wiggle and then you hop!") with a gusto that's Broadway at its best: it's over the top, it knows it, and it doesn't care. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
Really only good for the performance of Michele Lee
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 02/07/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"BRAVO GIOVANNI is a dismal Broadway musical, perhaps only redeemed by the always-reliable performers Michele Lee and Maria Karnilova.The score by Ronny Graham and Milton Shafer attempts to bridge the gap between Broadway and Italian music, but only really has a few golden moments; most memorable are Michele Lee's songs "I'm all I've Got" and "Steady, Steady". Maria Karnilova also impresses in her now-legendary "Kangaroo".The cast is headed by Cesare Siepi. I wish I could say that he rises above the material here, but he is drowned by the maudlin lyrics and average melodies that infest his songs. The cast also includes George S. Irving, Lu Leonard, Buzz Miller, Arnold Soboloff and Gene Varrone; all capable and seasoned veterans who deserved better material.There is also a supplementary track of "Steady, Steady" in a souped-up version from Michele Lee's album 'A Taste of the Fantastic' that she recorded 4 years later.A must-own for Broadway fans, but others won't enjoy it all that much."
MOZART IT ISN'T, BUT "BRAVO GIOVANNI" IS FUN, NON-THE-LESS .
J. T Waldmann | Carmel, IN, home to the fabulous new Regional Perf | 08/31/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"May 19, 1962 - Broadhurst Theatre, NY, USA . . . What a casting coup: Cesare Siepi, the finest Don Giovanni of his day, as the lead in a new musical called BRAVO GIOVANNI!!!
Widely regarded as one of the greatest pieces of music ever composed, Mozart's opera about the legendary Don Juan has been a staple since it premiered at the Estates Theatre in Prague on October 29, 1787. After is 76 performances on Broadway (except for a staged reading of the show a few years ago in Cleveland), I don't believe BRAVO GIOVANNI has ever been staged, and it's quite unlikely that it ever will be. Perhaps the culprit is A. J. Russell's book, based on "The Crime of Giovanni Venturi" by Howard Shaw, because the score is really quite charming.
Kelly Ferjutz writes on Cool Cleveland .com: " . . . it's a perfectly delightful musical comedy of the 1960s. It's not at all in-your-face, being rather sweet and nice and innocent in its nature. Nothing wrong with that at all. It has tuneful singable songs--bunches of them--with clever lyrics. It has a couple of gorgeous love ballads--one sung by Giovanni to Miranda, his love--and one sung by her to him. There are a couple of comedic patter songs--one of them an Italian menu set to music (which would certainly make one hungry just listening), and one sung by the inebriated antagonist." Not to mention Maria Karnilova's show-stopping rendition of "The Kangaroo." Curiously, the one minor hit from the show, "Steady, Steady," is also the only song that really doesn't "fit" with the rest of the score. What the heck.
Known to millions from TVs "Knot's Landing," Michelle Lee was only 19 when GIOVANNI opened on Broadway. And she's a knockout as Miranda. After the show closed, she replaced Bonnie Scott as Rosemary in HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING and repeated the role in the 1967 film version. She also received a Tony nomination for 1973's SEESAW. Cesare Siepi is marvelous in the title role. He'll make you believe the songs are better than they actually are. What a voice! In 1989 he made another Broadway appearance in the ill-fated CARMELINA. In addition to Ms. Karnilova (Golde in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF; Madame Hortense in ZORBA), able support is given by George S. Irving, David Opatoshu and a fine chorus of waitrons, tourists, and native Romans.
DON GIOVANNI it isn't, but it's fun nevertheless. Thanks to DRG for resurrecting BRAVO GIOVANNI and other obscure shows from musical limbo.)