Cher Public

No you can’t

Identically-coiffed artistes Klaus Florian Vogt and Renée Fleming prove conclusively that American musical theater is not an international language.  

  • Clita del Toro

    Both of them stink. Boring.

    • suzyQ

      Simply horrible!!

  • laddie

    Why are both singing in a baritone key?

    • armerjacquino

      Pitch as written, I think. Don’t have a score to hand.

    • They’re singing it in the published key of the vocal score of Annie Get Your Gun, C major.

  • Feldmarschallin

    This is how it should be done.

    • marczilla

      That’s a camp classic for sure. Referring to bastianini and simionato. The other is just junk.

      • Clita del Toro

        Yay. Love it! Total camp with great singers, not yucky Reneigh mess.

  • WindyCityOperaman

    . . . still kinda fun to hear some of it auf deutsch . . . Saw German language cast albums for My Fair Lady and A Chorus Line calling the show by their English titles (still, Meine Lieder Meine Traume for Sound of Music and Anatevka for Fiddler).

    In one of my accompanist’ friends travels he told me he saw West Side Story performed in German. Said it was wunderschoen!

    • armerjacquino

      Damrau’s recent album contains wonderful versions of ‘Ware es so wunderschon’ and ‘Grunfink und Nachtigall’.

    • Buster

      Ist das ein Spaß?

      Already saving up for “Das Lächeln einer Sommernacht” with Dagmar Schellenberger as Desiree Armfeld next year in Baden.

  • La Valkyrietta

    No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

    It was a major Hollywood tragedy that Judy did not make the movie. Her rehearsal tape of some songs including the now politically incorrect “Am I an Indian Yet” is wonderful. I was not thrilled with Betty. It would be one of my favorite movie musicals if Judy had made it or if they had gotten Merman (was she too old for it? Nah!) or the divine Dolores Gray (too unknown? So what!). In any case, there is no comparison between Simionato and Fleming, I even have my fingers react against me for including them in the same phrase. Brava Giulietta! I saw her as Amneris at the Met, happy me, many decades ago, and her image always comes to mind when I hear, no matter who sings,
    “Nè di sangue son paghi giammai…
    E si chiaman ministri del ciel!”

    • Clita del Toro

      I adore Judy and grew up with her movies, but I am not sure about her Annie. I kinda liked Betty Hutton. She was butch and had lots of energy (maybe too much) which suited the role. I remember buying the movie album on 45’s. I read that they treated Betty Hutton very poorly during the making of the film. Judy just looked very tired and frail in those clips, and didn’t sound her best. Perhaps if they had filmed the movie later, Judy would have been fab.
      Merman’s personality and looks were not good for the movies, not to mention her age. Glad she didn’t do it.
      I think Dolores Gray would have been a very good choice.

      • La Valkyrietta

        Yes, Judy was in bad shape at the time, but in good form she would have been to die for in Annie. Judy could do no wrong when she was up to. Pity she missed many movies. Too many pills when she was young? I love Jane Powell in Royal Wedding, but can you imagine Judy doing it as she was intended?, “How could you believe me when I said I loved you when you know I’ve been a liar all my life?” I only saw Judy live very late in her life. Boston Commons, 1968 I think, or something like that. She stayed in Boston for many days and had one of her parties that went on for days. I want to the public concert. Of course, not the Judy I had seen in Wizard, or Easter, or even Star, or all those divine movies Girl Crazy, Louis, Harvbey Girls, etc., etc., etc., but it was real life Judy, and she attempted Over the Rainbow, and sang it from start to finish. Annie would have been ideal for her, but not at the time they filmed it when she was going thorugh a tough time..

        Hollywood often makes mistakes casting movies. I love Streisand, I saw her on Broadway with the lady in All in the Family, great fun, but wasn’t Dolly just the movie for that girl from Little Rock? It was wrong not to cast Carol Channing as Dolly, just wrong. How about that other fantastic musical Mame? I love Lucy, but did she not ruin it? They should have had Angela, she would have won an Oscar for it. Oh well, Hollywood, as the Met, makes mistakes. Fortunately, they did have Ingrid in Casablanca and Anastasia! And Garbo in Ninotchka! And Crawford in everything she did, as well as the unsurpassable Bette!

      • armerjacquino

        Hutton at her bonkers best:

        • WindyCityOperaman

      • mjmacmtenor

        Dolores Gray would have been great as she had experience from playing the role in the 1st London production just a couple of years before the movie was made.

        and another example

        • Gray and a couple of other names are often brought up in this context, but the issue was that Annie needed a really big box office name who could sing, dance and carry the movie on personality. The situation was acute because Metro paid an enormous amount for the rights and the budget swelled to almost $4 million. So someone in the cast, either Annie or Frank, had to be a really huge name, the kind of star millions of people will turn up to see no matter what the property. Had it been a smaller budget project, then someone like Betty Garrett might have done it, but, again, Garrett could not have opened a $4 million picture. Meanwhile, Ethel Merman was not a movie personality at this point; Ginger Rogers was a little too old to play it on screen; June Allyson was maybe not quite good enough a singer (and anyway was likely busy with other projects); Betty Grable was under contract to Fox; Doris Day wasn’t ready to carry this size movie yet. So Hutton was, from a business standpoint, the only logical choice.

          I think it’s a poor compromise and the picture suffers from it, because Hutton has this defensive hurt/angry quality that I think makes Annie seem neurotic and unlikable, as if you’re waiting for the character to become an alcoholic or quit the rodeo sometime in the second act.

          Judy would have needed some more work and some retakes on her first two numbers, basically everything up until the point when she joins Buffalo Bill’s show. After that it would have been easy sailing, health permitting.

    • Sempre liberal

      I listened to Merman throughout my childhood. (Mama Sempre, when did you first realize your son was gay?) This video is from 1966, the Broadway production was 1946, and the movie was 1950.

      • WindyCityOperaman

        • olliedawg

          OMG, Ethel and disco…only thing that can make me hysterical laughing is Mrs. Miller…but I have to confess, I always LOVED Ethel’s chutzpah, her unrepentantly large sound, that vibrato that lasted for days.

          My dad, who’s been gone over 14 years now, always spoke with awe at having seen Merman when he was a kid. He sat waaaay up in the gods, and could describe the physical sensation of hearing her sing “Johnny One Note” and understanding every single word.

          She was a wonder of nature and a national treasure.

      • mjmacmtenor

        Another Broadway legend played the role on tour and later did a TV version with John Raitt.

      • La Valkyrietta

        Sempre liberal

        Thanks for the fabulous Merman. One of my most cherished memories of Broadway was to have seen her many times live in Gypsy in the early sixties. I even got her autograph a couple of times (something I could not do with Mary Martin in The Sound of Music as she always had the car on with the chauffeur inside and would rush to it, ignoring fans).

        I think La Cieca spells the problems with casting Annie right. Merman was not a movie personality, but I must say I adored her in Call Me Madam, but perhaps that was not so hot in the box office. Judy would have worked a few years before or after, but at the time she was in bad shape. I like Betty Hutton in many movies, she can be a riot, I just think she was not quite right for Annie, but that is what we got. The movie ended up, in spite of the songs, not being a classic like, say, Easter Parade or Singin’ in the Rain.

    • WindyCityOperaman

    • operaassport

      It’s “I’m an Indian Too.”

      A tragedy is when John Garfield dies too young. Judy Garland not getting a part is not a tragedy.

      Betty Hutton was so over-the-top that she makes Merman look subtle. She wasnt treated poorly, she was a harridan, difficult to work with and already showing signs of the mental problems that would end her career a few years later.

      • Gualtier M

        The weird thing about Betty Hutton’s performance as Annie Oakley is that she has a fine basic voice and the right personality and often is quite winning and funny. She even acts Annie’s girlish adoration of Howard Keel’s uberhunk Frank Butler very touchingly. But the director did not/could not rein her in. She mugs, overacts, pulls faces and distorts the music. Throws in pratfalls that look like she is on a vaudeville stage. There is a wonderful Annie there -- but she needed a strong hand to bring it out.

        As for Garland, in theory it could have been wonderful. But if you listen to the recording and see the clips that were filmed of her, Garland doesn’t attempt a hillbilly accent at all. She seems way too sophisticated and doesn’t sound like she grew up in a shack. Judy is also pathetically tired and frail and looks like she wants to be anywhere else at the time.

  • Feldmarschallin

    Speaking of Bad Fleming I am just watching something on BR Alpha TV which has different sopranos in different roles and so far we had Damrau as QdN, Denoke in Salome, Meier as Kundry and now Renaaaayyyyy doing VLL. Uterly boring. Don’t know from when this is since Sawallisch is conducting but she does nothing with the words. Nothing at all.

    • papopera

      singing QdN and VLL ??????? can you decrypt ?

      • danpatter

        I assume Queen of the Night and Four Last Songs.

  • grimoaldo

    Lord have mercy…..just reading “Fleming, Vogt -- Annie Get Your Gun” makes me lose the will to live.

  • La Valkyrietta

    Love her. To me she was the Callas of the American Musical.

    • My favorite Garland clips are the Jack Parr interviews. She had such and earthy, fun sense of humor. The only other Hollywood icon who comes close to Garland is Bette Davis, also always a great interview.

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    I think Klaus Florian was having a bad hair day. He usually looks better than this.

  • rofrano

    1:45 -- 2:00

    can anybody please explain the hideous sound she is making?

  • OpinionatedNeophyte

    Bring back Kathy…

  • OpinionatedNeophyte

    Why on earth is Renay doing that tentative white girl two-step throughout? It’s OK girl, if you want to twerk it won’t upset anyone more than this “performance.”

    • papopera

      Ms Fleming’s name is RENÉE why do you spell it Renay ?

      • manou

        If your name is Gustave -- why do you spell it papopera?

        • papopera

          You are corny ! I’ve been trying to change it for a long time without success, getting “email already exists…..” if you must know. As to “Manou” last time I heard it, it was the name of an old mule on my grandfather’s farm.

          • manou

            As an old mule myself, I am glad to hear it.

            • papopera

              quelle casse-pieds cette bonne femme !

      • Clita del Toro

        I prefer Reneigh.

    • olliedawg

      It’s just painful. She’s doing her perky thing which always makes me cringe. Love ya, Renee, but I’m not lovin’ this…

      By the way, chers parterrians, I’m going to see Renee’s BFF in “Le Roi et Moi”, opening night at the Chatelet…I hope La Graham pull off “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance” without making me cringe yet again.

      • “La Graham” ???

        • olliedawg

          As in: Susan,

      • la vociaccia

        Susan Graham sang “Hello young lovers” in her recent Philadelphia recital. She totally nailed it. If she sings the rest of the score like that, Paris will be in for a huge treat

        • olliedawg

          Thanks for the info, la vociaccia, and hooray!!

  • Donna Anna

    Not Garland. Not Battle. Not Merman.
    But damn do I love this song and he doesn’t need anyone else.

  • perfidia

    Battle is perfect for classic Broadway soubrette music. Her crossover album is really wonderful. The voice is so light and the mikes just love it. Hampson is terrific too, even if he is, as usual, a little too pleased with himself (but that fits this character, for once).

  • Flicka does a little-known (but wonderful) Rodgers & Hart song.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJjdCrAn7-U

  • Eileen Farrell sings Cole Porter.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmjbvlxT5Ls

    • WindyCityOperaman

      . . . and the Gershwins. She was the exception . . . at home in classical and pops

  • David Daniels sings “Quelque chose du calme.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOrRpTExNmQ

  • Often admonished

    American musical theater is not an international language

    Bitte, halten Sie es so.

  • Niel Rishoi

    This is just depressing. So wrong on every level. It’s ersatz high camp, and it shouldn’t be.

    La Cieca made an excellent assessment of all the potential Annies. My number one choice would have been Doris Day at her peak. Warner Bros featured her in the ANNIE “knock-off,” “Calamity Jane” -- which is one of the best musicals ever made during the 1950s. Day was believably tough and tender, rustic and romantic. Her accounts of all the songs are marvelous; her physical energy is infectious and impeccably incorporated into the contexts -- here are some clips:

    The great “Secret Love”:

    And the “Anything You can Do” knock-off:

    • olliedawg

      Always loved Day’s singing — she could be sassy, funny, sweet, tough, or tender. There were films where she showed her strengths as a singing actress (“Love Me or Leave Me” springs to mind). She is much maligned, probably due to all those sappy flicks with Rock, and deserves to have a reputation revival.

      • Milady DeWinter

        Even the “sappy” films with Hudson, Grant, Garner are the best of their kind (and the ones with Hudson doubly entertaining in light of what we know, and what we know they shared together on set.)
        Just the early 60s designs in “Pillow Talk” are swoony wonderful. Day was one of the most talented gals in show biz, and a great singer to boot. I think she would have absolutely nailed “Annie” too. But “Calamity”, as noted above, is sort of “Annie” sideways, anyway.

        And speaking of politically incorrect Native American routines in classic” Hollywood, here’s one of my guilty pleasures:

        • olliedawg

          Terry Gross of Fresh air, who confessed on air to being an unabashed Day admirer, did a terrific interview with Day about a year ago on the occasion of her 90th birthday. As is TG’s wont, she elicited new insights on Day’s career, her post-Hollywood life, etc. But, what was so refreshing and remarkable is the sound of Day’s speaking voice — she sounds as engaging, as genuinely perky, and as “bright as a daisy”. Talk about fresh air…

        • moritz

          Wonderful, Milady! Made my day, and it was about time!

          • Milady DeWinter

            Glad you liked it, moritz -- it’s a delicious routine, no? Joan McCracken, so brilliant and fun!

            • moritz

              I must admit I’d never heard of her before and spent half the night searching the net for information and other clips. Didn’t get enough sleep but was immediately in good mood when I watched your clip again this morning. The girls at the bar at around 1:55 alone are enough to cheer me up! McCracken reminds me of photos of my grandmother as a young woman who was about her age, and for whatever stupid reason I had to think of my grandparents as a young couple the whole day, a bit melancholic, but in a rather nice way.

    • toitoitoi

      Do you remember Groucho Marx’s remark, “I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin”? I hated her as a kid -- so squeaky clean -- but now I want to see this movie.

    • WindyCityOperaman

      Remember the episode of Tracey Takes On with airline steward Trevor as a young lad record miming “The Deadwood Stage”? Doris D’s singing was incredible -- Love Me or Leave Me particularly.

      • Milady DeWinter

        What a great clip. Day could really dance, although she didn;t do it a lot in her films. Legs to rival La Charisse!

      • Sheldon

        I prefer this version.