Lenny Would Have Loved It
Maestra Christine Flasch and the Southwestern Suburban Symphony put on a terrific show this past Sunday at the Saber Center in Franklin—the orchestra’s acoustically resonant home turf. The entire concert program was devoted to the beloved music of legendary American composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein. And, in so doing, they made it clear to all in attendance why “composer” should be Bernstein’s first descriptor, not “conductor.”
The first half of the program consisted of the lovely “Simple Song” from Mass, gorgeously sung by 14-year-old Samual Piatt. After that came the plucky overture to Candide, played with wit and exactitude. The rest of the meaty first half paid rapturous homage to West Side Story—complete with semi-staged duets by soprano Vanessa Rodriguez and tenor Benjamin Robinson (both in fine voice) as the doomed lovers, Maria and Tony.
The Bernstein of Broadway and Hollywood showed forth in splendor after intermission, with five vocal soloists performing highlights from Peter Pan, On the Town, Wonderful Town and Candide. Of the latter, “Glitter and Be Gay” was sung and acted to zany perfection by Alisa Suzanne Jordheim. The whole cast brought the concert to a rousing conclusion with a somewhat messy but certainly exuberant “Conga” from Wonderful Town.