musings

maria callas fail

this is awesome.

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a piece of news has gone viral locally about a dutch restaurant displaying the portrait of filipino actor cherie gil mistaken as the real maria callas. read about the news article here. i do wonder how stupid and lazy the artist could get to not have done his research properly, with the internet giving him hundreds of photos of the opera singer and he ends up picking the wrong one. this, however, amuses and thrills me no end. we were fortunate enough to have watched cherie’s powerful performance as maria callas in terence mcnally’s master class in manila in 2008 and up to this day, i still get goosebumps thinking about it. this maybe akin to people watching for the first time lea salonga perform as kim in 1989 or experience ted neely rock it out in the cinema as jesus christ. it is life changing. char.

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i dont know if i would want to berate the artist for being so stupid or if i should just praise gil (and her team of stylists) for fooling the dutch portrait artist. for good measure, here is a photo (lifted from the net; i dont own rights to any of the photos ive posted in this article with the exception of the screencap) of the real maria callas.

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music, musings

LSS: i know him so well

whitney houston and her mother cissy houston

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i remember hearing this song on the radio as a kid and it was a huge hit in the 80s. it wasnt until i heard the original version that i was blown away by the power of the song. i only learned/realized this year (what?!!) that the song was from chess the musical, written by tim rice and music by benny andersson and björn ulvaeus (from ABBA, yes that group). whitney’s version is very pop, palatable to a larger audience but im starting to love the musical version more and more. chess the musical involves a romantic triangle between two top players, an american (frederick trumper, loosely based on grandmaster bobby fischer) and a russian, in a world chess championship, and a woman (florence) who manages one and falls in love with the other; all in the context of a cold war struggle between the US and the soviet union, during which both countries wanted to win international chess tournaments for propaganda purposes (source wikipedia).

let me just say, listening to the various versions of this song will overwhelm and may even confuse you. and you might even end up hating the song for too much recall. my apologies in advance 🙂

i know him so well is sung by florence, the lover, and svetlana, the estranged wife, reflecting on their relationship with anatoly (the russian chess player).  the london cast version was recorded by elaine paige with siobhán mccarthy but here’s paige (florence) and barbara dickinson’s (svetlana) hit version from the original concept album (1984).

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when the show moved to broadway in 1988, judy khun replaces elaine paige as the role was rewritten to be an american. here, she sings this song with marcia mitzman. for the uninformed, judy khun played cosette in les miserables for the original broadway cast and was singing voice of pocahontas (whose version of “colors of the wind” will remain my favorite over vanessa williams’s pop take). this is such a beautiful version i never tire listening to (along with paige’s version) on loop.


listen to this again and try to imagine pocahontas singing this 😉

in 2008 a concert version was staged with josh groban (anatoly), adam pascal (from rent and aida, playing freddie) and idina menzel (of wicked and glee fame, as florence). i do think her version of “i know him so well” with kerry ellis was an abysmal performance. although i love idina as elpheba, she was just screechy in this version.  kerry ellis also played elpheba on broadway.

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the always magnificent lea salonga sings the song in a tv show in the 90s (probably aired on rpn9).

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elaine paige sings along with one her biggest fans, susan boyle in this link here. we should remember susan boyle did mention her greatest idol was paige during her famous audition in the tv show, britain’s got talent.  there is another version recorded by barbra streisand with richard page in 1992.  of course, locally the divine kuh ledesma, with regine velasquez, covers the song here (start at 4:23 if you wanna get straight to the song). another with regine and lani misalucha here (start at 4:09).  the australian pop group, steps, also performs this song (accent is heavy!). link is here.

stumbled upon an amazing male version by john barrowman and daniel boys. they didn’t bother changing the lyrics here. awesome!

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this blogpost is sort of a comparative study, if you may, on the different performances of this incredible song.  ive listened to paige and kuhn’s versions endlessly i just had to blog it. it was inevitable. to lessen the blow of listening to various versions of the same song, i leave you with another beautiful song from chess the musical. this is someone else’s story, performed by judy khun (remember pocahontas?) and was only written when the show moved to broadway.  first heard this song when lea salonga performed it in her broadway concert (link here).  let’s listen to the original version:

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im all for im-all-alone songs from musicals (someone else’s story, aida’s i know the truth, and avenue q’s there’s a fine, fine line, etc.) but let’s save that for another day and another blog entry. cheers!

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music

lea salonga on les mis

i love lea salonga. she has proven to age appropriately well, starting as annie when she was a kid and debuting on the world’s stage as kim in miss saigon when she was 17. then she tackled unrequited love embodied as eponine in the 10th anniversary concert of les miserables, where she drew raves and was often regaled as the best eponine ever.

eventually she got invited to perform as fantine on broadway when she matured and was also featured in the 25th anniversary concert.

and i guess it would be really (extremely) funny if she got called back on the 40th anniversary to sing as madame thernadier

i do hope not! haha

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