Jerome Kern - Roberta
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Label: New World Records
Cat No: NW80760
Number of Discs: 2
Release Date: 24th November 2014
Orchestra of Ireland
Roberta, a musical comedy by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach, which opened at New York’s New Amsterdam Theatre in November 1933, was intended to follow a structure similar to that of his two previous musicals, 'The Cat and the Fiddle' (1931) and 'Music in the Air' (1932).
These musicals were chic, sophisticated tapestries of dialogue, song and dance, interwoven with nearly continuous underscoring. Based on Alice Duer Miller’s novel, 'Gowns By Roberta', the musical is a romantic coming-of-age comedy about a young American’s growth from naïve college athlete to sophisticated owner of his great-aunt Minnie’s Parisian fashion house.
Like 'The Cat and the Fiddle', which had been set in Brussels, Roberta presents a comedic clash between Old World Europe and brash New World America. Likewise, the wonderful Kern score contrasts such haunting songs as 'The Touch of Your Hand' and 'Smoke Gets in Your Eyes' with the brassy 'I’ll Be Hard to Handle' and 'Let’s Begin'.
Conducted by Rob Berman, one of Broadway’s finest musical directors, the cast includes West End, Broadway and opera stars Kim Criswell, Annalene Beechey, Jason Graae and Diana Montague.
There have been previous recordings of the songs from Roberta, but this is the first recording of the complete score in its original orchestrations by Kern’s orchestrator-of-choice, Robert Russell Bennett.
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