Classical Sprouts: Linda Ronstadt and the anatomy of a musical joke
Last week, we explored Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta "The Pirates of Penzance." Take a listen to that episode if you haven't already!
The recording we used for that episode featured American singer Linda Ronstadt as the role of Mabel, who played the role both on Broadway and in the 1983 film.
But she wasn't known as an opera singer.
She was widely known for performing and recording rock, pop, country and even Latin music!
Her first album was released in 1969, and by the end of the decade was considered the the top-selling female singer of the 1970s!
So how did she use this pop/rock stardom to her advantage when singing the role of Mabel in Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta, "The Pirates of Penzance?"
Traditionally, the role of Mabel is sung in a sweet, soprano, flute-like voice.
She's portrayed as dainty, posh and lady-like.
But when Linda Ronstadt brought her strong, full, non-operatic voice and passion to it, the meaning behind some of the songs changes a bit!
In this episode, hear Kate break down the song, "When the foeman bares his steel," from the second act of "The Pirates of Penzance" and listen to how Linda Ronstadt changes the meaning of Mabel's feelings based on how she sings the words!
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Classical Sprouts is produced by Emily Duncan Wilson.
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