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From the Archives: Dawn Upshaw and Tommy Krasker Discuss Broadway Music.

A Fresh Air favorite, opera soprano Dawn Upshaw. She has more than two dozen albums to her credit and has become widely known for her ability to perform both in the opera as well as sing Broadway tunes. Upshaw joined the Metropolitan Opera in 1984 and has performed at the Met. Many of the world's leading conductors have invited Upshaw to appear with some of the finest orchestras, including The Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Berlin Philharmonic. On May 17, she performs Broadway Songs at a Lincoln Center sponsored concert at John Jay College Theatre. She’ll sing the music of Rogers and Hart, Stephen Sondheim, and Vernon Duke, among others. Last year she released a CD, "Dawn Upshaw sings Vernon Duke" (Nonesuch). It features Fred Hersch on piano and John Pizzarelli on guitar. (THIS INTERVIEW CONTINUES INTO THE SECOND HALF OF THE SHOW) (REBRAODCAST FROM 2/11/99)

35:48

Other segments from the episode on May 5, 2000

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, May 5, 2000: Interview with Dawn Upshaw and Tommy Krasker; Review of the album "Sonny Rollins: The Freelance Years"; Review of the film "Gladiator."

Transcript

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Interview: Opera singer Dawn Upshaw and music theater expert Tommy
Krasker on Vernon Duke's music and Upshaw's "Round About," a 1999
discussion
TERRY GROSS, host:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

Dawn Upshaw is a celebrated opera singer and interpreter of American popular
song. Last Sunday, the Lincoln Center Great Performers Series began its
three-part project Images of Dawn(ph), presenting soprano Dawn Upshaw in three
different settings. The final part of the project is the world premiere of
"Round About," featuring Upshaw and baritone Greg Edelman(ph) performing songs
by Stephen Sondheim, Kurt Weill, George Gershwin and Vernon Duke.

On this archive edition, we have a 1999 interview with Upshaw recorded after
the release of her CD "Dawn Upshaw Sings Vernon Duke." Duke's best-known songs
include "April In Paris," "Autumn in New York," "I Can't Get Started" and
"Taking a Chance on Love." He collaborated with such lyricists as Yip
Harburg, Ira Gershwin and Howard Dietz, but Duke wrote the words and music for
his song "Autumn in New York." Here's Dawn Upshaw's recording.

(Soundbite of "Autumn in New York")

Ms. DAWN UPSHAW: (Singing) It's time to rend my lonely holiday and bid the
country a hasty farewell. So on this gray and melancholy day, I'll move to a
Manhattan hotel. I'll dispose of my rose-colored chattel and prepare for my
share of adventures and battles. Here on the 27th floor, looking down on the
city I hate and adore. Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York, it spells the thrill of first-nighting. Glittering crowds
and shimmering flowers and canyons of steel. They're making me feel like
home. It's autumn in New York that brings the promise for new loves. Autumn
in New York is often mingled with pain. Dreamers with empty hands may sigh
for exotic lands. It's autumn in New York. It's good to live it again.

GROSS: Music from the CD "Dawn Upshaw Sings Vernon Duke."

Joining Upshaw for our interview was her producer, Tommy Krasker, an expert on
music theater, who has also produced several Broadway cast recordings and
recordings of music theater restoration.

Vernon Duke thought of himself as having two separate musical personalities.
He wrote classical music for orchestras and ballets under his birth name,
Vladimir Dukelsky, and he wrote songs for Broadway and Hollywood under the
name Vernon Duke. And in his autobiography, he says, `There isn't a note of
jazz in my serious music, and there are no symphonic overtones to my musical
comedy output. I don't think that's anything to be proud of, and the wide
gulf between the two styles has proven entirely too wide for most people's
comfort, particularly for critics and fellow composers.'

Dawn Upshaw, I was wondering if you identify with his feeling because you have
two separate identities, too, in a way. You use the same name, but, you know,
you're working in the opera world and the world of art song, and you're also
working now in the world of songs from movies and musical theater. Do you
identify with the sense of having two different identities and some people
being uncomfortable with that?

Ms. UPSHAW: I have certainly hoped that there is a big difference in my
approach in performance styles between the more classical music and the
Broadway music that I've been singing. At the same time, though, I've really
learned a lot, by getting back to the more popular music, about simplicity and
straightforwardness and kind of no baloney. And I
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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