Sunday, October 13, 2013

MT Soundtracker: Day 13

The Light in the Piazza (2003)

Original Broadway Cast Recording (2005)

Music & Lyrics: Adam Guettel

Synopsis: It is the 1950's. Margaret Johnson and her emotionally unstable daughter, Clara, spend a summer in Italy. Clara falls in love with an Italian, Fabrizio. Margaret tries her best to stop the relationship but the young couple plan to marry regardless.  

Here we have another rather unique musical. Firstly, the score is very operatic (especially e.g. Clara's Interlude), in order to enhance the feel of a 1950's setting perhaps. It also contains long, instrumental sections (e.g. American Dancing has no vocals at all) It is quite rare to find a musical from the 21st century in this style. Secondly, it is the only bilingual Broadway musical that I have come across (if anyone knows any others, please let me know) with numerous characters being Italian.  
Overall I did not find the soundtrack particularly memorable. I think The Light in the Piazza might be one of those musicals that are best seen on stage partly because for anyone who does not speak Italian, the staging probably greatly helps in understanding the meaning of the songs in that language. 
However, particularly the title track as well as Love to Me are beautiful numbers, Hysteria grabs your attention because it lives up to its name. Octet partly follows in the footsteps of Hysteria.

The original Broadway production was received positively and it won several Tony awards. It has since been performed around the US as well as outside of it. The UK premiere took place in Leicester in 2009 but the show has so far not made the West End. 

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