Venue: The Orpheum, Vancouver
Dates: March 2, 2002
Reviewer: June Heywood
I don't like musicals, but I can't resist singing along
with catchy show tunes. I also wanted to observe Tania Miller, VSO's
Assistant Conductor, in action.
Listening to the musicians took me back many years. They sounded like the BBC Light Orchestra but with more gusto. There were about five orchestral pieces. Petite Tania Miller (dressed as each member of the orchestra in black and white), put body and soul into her performance. Indeed, she was so focused, that she didn't return one of the vocalist's acknowledgements, causing a slight moment of tension.
The vocalists were George Dvorsky and Lisa Vroman. Both have a list of high-caliber credits to their names. These singers were matched in the strength of their blended voices and in their stage presence. Suave George Dvorsky showed great comedic flare in numbers such as "Sara Lee" from And the World Goes 'Round and the duet, "Coffee in a Cardboard Cup" from 70, Girls, 70. He demonstrated a wide range of vocal ability flawlessly hitting both the high and low notes. His "She Was There" from the Scarlet Pimpernel, a jazzy, syncopated number with virbrato, was a real crowd pleaser.
It took soprano, Lisa Vroman, a song or two to chill the butterflies. Once she relaxed, she settled on an American (not English) accent. Throughout the performance Vroman looked stunning. In the first half of the program she moved like a dancer in a flowing ankle-length dress. After the intermission, she sang in a full-length tight, midnight-blue second skin. Although a tiny woman, Vroman demonstrated amazing lung capacity in "Anything You Can Do" from Annie Get Your Gun. It seemed that she would hold forever the long last note. As a scat singer she's okay but jazz rhythms, as in the "Crazy Girl" segue, "I've Got Rhythm", seemed not to be her forte. But Lisa Vroman's "Wonderful Guy" segue in South Pacific was the best rendition I've heard.
Until this weekend, Dvorsky and Vroman hadn't appeared together for the past 17 years. However, everything in their performance tonight indicated that they were happy to be reunited. A long kiss ended their final duet.
Other skills worthy of note: The lighting people effectively set the scenes with appropriate colours and accurate spotlighting. The orchestra was the accompaniment without being overpowering. (Maesta Miller acknowledged and thanked each section separately.) And Akira Nagai, Associate Concertmaster, for an encore, humorously played his violin so high it was almost beyond audible register.
The 40-song program ended with an audience singalong. I joined other members of the grey-haired audience by belting out, "Give My Regards to Broadway" before young Tania Miller left the stage looking exhausted and the older vocalists preceded her looking as though they could have danced all night.
© 2002, June Heywood
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