Fever Animates An Elegant Songbook
caroled with a rolled r and embellished with and occasional trill, is the subject
of Lorna Dallas's new cabaret show at Arci's Place. A soprano who divides her
time between the United States and England (she's American), Ms. Dallas has long
specialized in the semi-operatic music of composers like Jerome Kern and Ivor
Novello, which she enunciates with a decorous formality in a voice that's still
beautiful in its middle register though audibly strained when she reaches for
the highest notes.
her operatic training and air of demure elegance, Ms. Dallas belongs to a tradition
(more British than American) that has nurtured theatrical singers from Julie Andrews
to Sarah Brightman. As she performs songs steeped in a seasonal atmosphere like
"Spring Is a New Beginning," "Spring, Spring, Spring" and
"Younger Than Springtime," she conveys the cultivated charm of an official
greeter of April gracefully wending her way through beds of tulips and daffodils
at a well-mannered English garden party.
problem facing singers who take this kind of elevated stance is how to break through
the formality sufficiently to put a personal stamp on the material.
Dallas, who is appearing at Arci's through April 28, offers careful line readings
that express varying degrees of enthusiasm and wistfulness at the appropriate
it is all so coolly calculated that what comes across has the warmed-over feeling
of a theatrical pose. Genuinely playful humor (which might have enlivened "Spring
Can Really Hang You Up the Most" and "Buds Won't Bud") and vulnerability
are in short supply.
if all you want is an oh-so-tasteful immersion in a musical theater sensibility
defined by operetta, Ms. Dallas is your ticket.