The next free concert offered by the Santa Barbara Music Club has a number of unusual features, all of them delightful. It will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Faulkner Gallery of the Santa Barbara Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St.
The concert will begin with Tracy Harris on flute and Svetlana Harris on piano performing three works for those instruments — Prelude for Two (composer not given, arranged by Todd and Tracy Harris), Berceuse for Flute & Piano, 1907 by Philippe Gaubert (1879-1941) and Solo de Concert, Opus 82 No. 6 by Jules Auguste Demersseman (1833-66).
Next, soprano Deborah Bertling and pianist Kacey Link will perform "Three Spirited Ladies of Broadway" — three songs by memorable female characters in Broadway shows — "Vanilla Ice Cream" sung by Amalia in Act Two of Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock's She Loves Me (1963); "How Could I Ever Know?" which Lily sings at the end of Act Two of Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon's Secret Garden, 1991; and "This Place is Mine," Carlotta's song from Act One of Maury Yeston and Arthur Kopit's Phantom (1991).
The afternoon's entertainment will conclude with bass-baritone Emil Cristescu singing three Verdi arias — "Infelice che un brando il vindice" from Ernani; "Come dal ciel precipita" from Macbeth; and "Il lacerato spirito" from Simon Boccanegra — with support from the irreplaceable pianist Betty Oberacker, after which he will be joined by Bertling (and Oberacker) for a performance of the duet "La ci darem la mano" ("I Wanna Hold Your Hand") from the opera that pretty much represents the high-water mark of Western civilization, Wolfgang Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte's Don Giovanni, 1787.
French flautist, conductor and composer Philippe Gaubert has a fair claim to be considered the founder and foremost promulgator of the French flute school, and to this day all players of that instrument treasure his compositions.
In the year 1919, at age 40 and after a stellar career as flautist with the Paris Opera, Gaubert was appointed to three positions that gave him unprecedented influence over French musical life: professor of flute at the Conservatoire de Paris, principal conductor of the Paris Opéra and principal conductor of the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire. That a musician could achieve such permanent eminence in France, as well as among flute players, while remaining so relatively obscure internationally is a sign of how specialized and cozy is the French musical world.
She Loves Me is one of my all-time favorite musicals, and if anyone possesses a video copy — tape or disc — or knowledge of a copy, of the 1978 BBC-TV production, starring Gemma Craven and Robin Ellis, please contact me immediately! Like My Fair Lady, She Loves Me is an all but perfect translation of a popular play into a musical. In this case, the play was the 1937 Hungarian comedy Parfumerie by Miklós László (Victor's brother?), which was made into two hit motion pictures — The Shop Around the Corner (1940) with James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, and In the Good Old Summertime (1949), with Judy Garland and Van Johnson — before getting to Broadway as She Loves Me in the anno mirabile, 1963.
The Phantom — still another version of Gaston Leroux's Gothic potboiler, Le fantôme de l'Opéra (1910) — has, in fact, yet to play on Broadway. Though it has been overshadowed by the Andrew Lloyd Webber version, The Phantom has been the subject of more than 1,000 productions since its premiere.