Sarasota Music Club’s change of schedule from their usual third Friday, due to Eicher Auditorium availability, may have contributed to a smaller crowd for the November program. The little pecan Danishes and sesame muffins were good, as usual. The program, not as usual, was less than wonderful.
I remember hearing Diana Vytell a couple years ago, and enjoying her performance. She has had a rich and varied career singing in Europe, the East, and America. I think I would thoroughly enjoy conversing with her at length about her experiences...she must have many wonderful tales to tell. On this day, however, she seemed distracted and distant, losing pitches and lyrics, and fighting the microphone. The program included bits of Verdi and Puccini that demonstrated her well-trained and still-effective voice.
The little-known “Barbara Song” from Kurt Weill’s Three Penny Opera was perhaps Vytell’s best of the morning; the wistful text seemed to tell her own story, sad and pensive. She made the song her own. Likewise, the sardonic David Friedman song, “I’m Not My Mother.” Mostly, though, she seemed to be somewhere else, mailing it in. Maybe it was the early hour...singers generally don’t like mornings.
Her accompanist this morning was Alan Corey, long time Man of Music in these parts. Corey has helped develop many young singers who have gone on to bright lights on big stages elsewhere. He is currently working with several stage productions locally, the perennial favorite Fantastics being one. His pianistic skills are subtle and wide-ranging, as demonstrated this morning with the music of Frederick Loewe, Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Kern, Jule Stein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and George Gershwin, to go along with the afore-mentioned Italian operatic masters. Quietly, unobtrusively setting the stage with his piano, he was an excellent accompanist – one of my highest compliments.
Regulars should make a note that the December program will begin at 11:00am and will be followed by a luncheon in the Sunnyside dining room, for which one must make reservations – call 941.925.3602.