Musical Theater for Classical Singers

By Carman, Judith | Journal of Singing, November/December 2011 | Go to article overview

Musical Theater for Classical Singers


Carman, Judith, Journal of Singing


MUSICAL THEATER FOR CLASSICAL SINGERS. Edited by Richard Walters, in four volumes: Soprano, Mezzo soprano, Tenor, and Baritone/Bass. Hal Leonard Corporation, 2011.

The newest music theater collection from editor Richard Walters at Hal Leonard is a welcome addition to the flood of such collections over the past few years. Previous volumes have been packaged and repackaged for various age groups from pre-teen to casual adult singers and contained songs from numerous shows from the 1970s and 1980s to the present. At last we have four good volumes of real singing songs from mostly pre-1970 music theater productions suitable for classically trained singers. To be sure, there are songs from productions as late as 2006, but the majority comes from those of the first five or six decades of the twentieth century.

Songs from such shows as Kismet, Kiss Me Kate, Show Boat, West Side Story, Lost in the Stars, The King and I, My Fair Lady, and Sweeney Todd, as well as many others, appear for each voice type. Except for the mezzo volume, where some soprano songs are transposed down and a few belter songs transposed up, the songs are published in their original keys.

The editor's excellent Preface addresses the need for classical singers to be at home with music theater, gives notes on the compilation itself, on common pitfalls for classical singers singing theater music, on choosing a song, on the necessity for nonoperatic, standard American diction, and on the benefits that singing music that demands direct emotional and character expression might have on the singer's operatic expression. …

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