Leonard Bernstein’s Wonderful Town is musical theatre at its best – it echoes the heightened emotions, the slightly hectic and decidedly happy mood of the festive season in anticipation of the page of the calendar flipping over to a new number.
This performance will be in the capable hands of Andris Poga, the Artistic Director of the LNSO. The sparkling quartet of soloists includes Kim Criswell who has sung the role of Ruth with the Berlin Philharmonic and Simon Rattle, Ieva Parša and Intars Busulis who performed in this musical when it was staged at the Cēsis Castle Park venue some years ago as well as the Lithuanian bass-baritone Kostas Smoriginas, already well-loved by Latvian audiences, who, as an opera and oratorio singer is one of the brightest rising stars in opera houses and concert halls all over the world. As the musical’s staging consultant is Viesturs Kairišs, there is reason to believe that the State Choir Latvia will be expected not only to sing beautifully, but also move around a little.
Irrepressible joy springs forth from the never-ending conga-line, the delicious swing, the famously limping frolic of The Wrong Note Rag and the other well-known tempos of this musical. Hearing it all like this, it seems quite remarkable that the musical was created in a mere five weeks, the opening date being a factor beyond the control of the composer. Just like in the times of Rossini and Donizetti, with all the charm and effervescence of a classical comic opera. Welcome to America of the 1930ies!