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Friday, 29 December 2006

Playbill: Diva Talk (A great review)

Some of you may remember this from October -- but I thought it deserved another mention as Playbill.com reproduced it for their review of 2006.

In October I received an invitation that I will probably never be offered again: the chance to attend a Barbra Streisand dress rehearsal at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, PA. The afternoon performance was the first Streisand would give before launching her recent acclaimed concert tour, which was co-directed by the star and Richard Jay-Alexander. Streisand, who, at 64, remains a striking figure, began her concert with Richard Maltby and David Shire's "Starting Here, Starting Now," and I have to admit hearing the sound of her voice live — those lush, rich, golden, rounded tones that seem to magically pour out of her — was surprisingly moving.

There have been many singers throughout the years who, intentionally or not, have imitated her sound, but when hearing Streisand live, one quickly realizes there is no substitute for the real thing. One of the many things that struck me during the generous, three-hour concert was the warmth that Streisand exudes on stage. And, not only is she tremendously intelligent — evidenced in both her spoken word and her lyrical interpretations — she is also extremely funny, joking throughout the show, often at her own expense.
In an afternoon of one superb performance after another, my favorites included "The Way We Were" (there was a gentle hush as Streisand delivered the opening lines, and I suspect there was nary a dry eye as she finished the Marvin Hamlisch-Alan and Marilyn Bergman tune on a beautiful sustained, almost ethereal high note); the Funny Girl anthem "People" (the crowd jumped to its feet as Streisand's voice soared on the song's climax: "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world!"); a wonderful, poignant medley of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" and Sondheim's "Children Will Listen"; "Unusual Way" (Streisand's voice was perfectly suited to the beautiful Nine ballad, and her acting of the song was also impeccable. In fact, it made one long to hear what she could do with some of the more current theatre scores); and a particularly impressive rendition of "Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?"

BarbraNews Shop + Review of 2006 Tour.

USA * Canada * UK/Europe
Click here for the European Tour Website from 2007
Click here to read our SPECIAL review of the 2006 Tour -- Excellent pictures.