Vintage Vanni Broadway


Sample Songs

Stout-Hearted Men
There But For You
Go I
Selection from 'Michelangelo'

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Broadway's Greatest Hits, Volume 1


The Magic of the Great White Way

Notations by Clarkspur Emden, critic-at-large

From the earliest operettas of the late 19th century to the laser show world of 21st century musical illusion, we have traveled far—and yet not that far. Through Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, or Wicked, we are transformed sitting there in the dark, sharing with others the magic of the Broadway stage. Yet 75 to 100 years before, our great-grandparents could be just as transported by Naughty Marietta, The Vagabond King or The Student Prince and exit the theatre just as thrilled. One thing for sure: Broadway is a long-standing American institution and it continues to influence young people as well as adults of all ages with its flair for the unique and accessible. When it’s good, it can be very good; when it’s bad, it’s trite nonsense with bad music and silly patter – someone’s expensive self-indulgence. There is a major distinction between “pop culture” musicals and “upper-end Broadway,” that makes a distinction between, let’s say, Mamma Mia and Les Miserables. For this album, Dario told me personally that he is “selectively exclusive” when it comes to Broadway-type music. “It [the song] must have substance, genuine meaning to me and be written musically and lyrically very well—to stand on its own merit out of context,” he told me. “One must remember, none of the music I ever recorded was intended for commercial distribution—I recorded the arrangements to hear how they might sound when I performed them in my live-audience venues. So, when I did shows [as opposed to opera], I had to hear how an audience might hear me and that the quality and delivery of my voice had both the vocal nuance and the acting skills required of the role.” How incredibly fortunate for us that Dario Vanni did record his “experimental” arrangements! This album stands in testimony to extra-ordinary performances delivered at peak stages in a 40-year singing career. It is among my top three Broadway albums, second only to Barbra Streisand’s and the young Gordon McCrae. This is not to say that Betty Buckley, Bernadette Peters, Earl Wrightson, John Raitt, and others aren’t wonderful—it’s simply that my preferences contain so much color and versatility—all in one CD. What’s the test? For me, it’s wanting to sit down for repeated listenings or taking a trip and filling my car stereo with these sounds. I never tire of these wonderful sounds cascading through my ears and body.

If one references the real American hit shows through the decades of the 20th century, one sees quality as early as Victor Herbert, Friml, or Romberg. (In fact, Dario sings two Romberg smasheroos in this album, both from “The New Moon”). These earlier works were essentially classical music by nature, diluted a bit for popular audiences. They were highly melodic, often sentimental, melodramatic, and quite romantic. A major change in the musical’s evolution occurred with “Show Boat” (1925/Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein II), that incorporated some of the old melodic scoring, but pioneered forward with daring theme (slavery) and “modern” melody structure such as the bluesy “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man of Mine” or “Bill”. These songs were intimate compared to the rousing songs of just a decade or two earlier. Increasingly, one didn’t have to be a trained operatic singer to vocally command a role; but that era did recycle itself with the advent of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Lerner and Lowe, and Andrew Lloyd Webber who would write for the highly-trained voice.

Show Boat opened the doors for Porgy and Bess, Three Penny Opera, and many others, but the juices that fed the popular box office show came from the pens of the Gershwin brothers, Rodgers and Hart, Harry Warren, Arthur Schwartz, Nacio Herb Brown, Vincent Youmans, Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, Vernon Duke, and others. The highly successful partner teams passed on generationally the gift of mega-hits: Kern and Hammerstein > the Gershwins > Rodgers and Hart > Rodgers and Hammerstein >Lerner and Lowe > Bernstein and Sondheim. A few exceptions had good, but fewer hit shows while Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and Stephen Sondheim worked alone, writing both words and music. In the latter part of the 20th century, Europe invaded Broadway via Andrew Lloyd Webber and the composers of Les Miserables. The biggest single player, that heralded the mega-corporation’s entrance into the arena of show biz musicals was Disney, who pre-sold its hits internationally. Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, and High School Musical went from the movie house to the Broadway theatre in rapid succession, an interesting reverse order as to how things were traditionally done. Mel Brooks followed suit with The Producers and Young Frankenstein.

In this collection we’re talking about the best, those songs in which a great song and an outstanding vocal performance riveted and emotionally moved millions of people globally. The only exceptions in this collection are those new songs written by the singer/composer himself. Suffice it to say that his songs are everything and more that exceptional vocal music should be: of rare vintage in this album, numbers 13-19, are the musical bonuses from Dario Vanni’s gorgeous new musical, Michelangelo, that has been created to help celebrate the great artist’s 500th anniversary of having completed the Sistine Chapel ceiling, 1508-1512.

How do we judge which songs of Broadway musical history are the best? Longevity, repeated re-makes of the shows, recordings made by other artists than the original cast, audition songs, voice teachers presenting the music to new generations, and so on. And, of course, you will be reading these notes as you listen sitting in the evaluation seat, right? Judge for yourself. So, come with us now, kick off your shoes, lean back on your sofa or easy chair, sip that beer or tea or glass of wine and listen. Or you can iPod it, blog it, twitter, podcast, or play it in your car, sit in front of your new iMac or PC, and listen to the stereo sounds of the Vintage Vanni Series of BROADWAY’S GREATEST HITS.

Clarkspur Emden, critic-at-large

1. Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera (Webber-Hart-Stilgoe)

Is there a major city in the world with a theatre where the Phantom has not played? They call this opus the world’s first billion-dollar musical, equaled only later on by Les Miserables and Mamma Mia. This captivating, sensual music fully deserves a place in the annals of the fully realized musicals with massive and universal appeal. It’s funny, no matter how we dress it, sex sells. And it’s seldom the act itself, but, rather, the anticipation of “who will get the girl?” Webber’s score is passionate and classy. This is a fine example of the “upper-end musical,” constructed from classical music roots and orchestration.

Dario’s version begins with verse two after he summons Christine from the shadows. Hypnotically he intones, “Softly, deftly, music shall caress you…” and spirals up to the ringing high A-flat on the word “be!” The singer here does not represent some young whipper-snapper delivering a love song, nope, instead, the pain and the maturity in the voice reach out to this beautiful creature who is under his spell. The long drop from F to low A-flat is no easy negotiation for the tenor voice, but Vanni does it with ease, almost whispering them, but with resonant substance. When we hear him climb, we know the incredible technique that leads him singing and ringing higher and higher to that high A-flat. The orgasm has happened, now there is quiet as he spins, “Touch me, trust me…” But he has a pathos that needs to finish the song as his lovely soft D-flat fades away back into the shadows. I’ve heard a lot of tenors tackle this mini-aria and I feel Vanni is right up there on top with Crawford or any of them. Dario’s voice is perfect for the part in my view; he never sounds like an opera singer trying to do Broadway, but neither is he a light, wheezy young guy who thinks he can sing. As I mentioned earlier, the maturity in his voice makes him the most convincing phantom I can think of—and dramatically?—well, hear for yourself!

2. All of My Life from Toby Ticklebritches (Dario Vanni)

Toby Ticklebritches is a one-act children’s musical that Dario left on his shelf unfinished in the 1990s. It’s a wonderful true tale (that Dario personally lived) of a one-man circus coming to a small hamlet on the west coast of California in the 1940s. The characters are well developed and, except, perhaps, for Mrs. Kreml (think Cruella deVille and Carol Burnett on a bad day), there is no antagonism amongst the children. The plot: the orphan boy, Johnny, wants to run away from Mrs. Kreml’s “ranch”, so he attends Toby the Clown’s little circus and decides he wants to be a clown. Priscilla, the young thing who’s got a big crush on Johnny, supports him in every way she can, but, when Johnny tells Toby of his dream, the clown is not all that enthused because he’s heard the story before. Johnny steals away anyhow undetected in Toby’s trailer, Mrs. Kreml calls out the F.B.I. and it’s a riot to the end and all’s well that ends well as Mrs. Kreml is hauled off to jail when Toby is cleared.

This song is a tear-jerker. When the little fired-up lad tells Toby of his aspiration, the clown, still in half makeup, sits down with the boy and tells him that he, too, was a runaway long ago. “A guy named Joe became a guy named Toby, with a face that stretched like a clay adobe” he tells Johnny. But most heart-rending of all are the beginning lyrics when Toby’s great empathy and truth spill out to Johnny: “All of my life I wanted someone to care, all of my life I wanted someone who’d share….all of my life, I couldn’t stay too long, all of my life, waiting to belong….” And, of course, that’s exactly Johnny’s present life story.

Within these laser-grooves we find the present, warm and personable voice of Dario Vanni. If we took all the technique aside and heard only a regular guy who loves to sing, then we have that organic quality here. The song on this album comes from that wonderful meeting of the little boy and the clown. Toby proceeds to tell Johnny, “All of my life I needed somewhere to go, all of my life, searching for a place called home…” and found it being a clown with his silly little animals and kids’ tricks. We finally discover that Toby’s wounded heart searched for healing until he found happiness within. To make children happy became his goal, his delight. This became Toby’s secret and his magic passport to life and the wonderful music from this play.

3. Stranger in Paradise from Kismet (Wright & Forest)

The 19th Century Russian composer, Alexander Borodin’s music for his opera Prince Igor (arr. Rimsky-Korsakov) included many folk tunes of the motherland. Among these was a gem of a melody from The Polovetsian Dances. At the same time, it was not unusual in the 20th century to “borrow” a major composer’s melody and apply it to a pop song or, in this case, a major Broadway musical. Beginning with a minor key (G-minor) the song takes advantage of the marvelous key changes at the bridge (D-flat-B-flat minor rel.) and finally ends in F. Wright and Forest had a major hit on their hands when Kismet hit Broadway in 1958 and the musical was soon made into a movie starring Howard Keel, Ann Blyth, Dolores Gray, and Vic Damone, another fine Italian singer. The song on this album became a popular standard for years and was sung both in solo and duet forms. The young Caliph sings to the peasant girl he falls in love with and this sequence ends in a lovely duet.

This is a Dario Vanni mini-masterpiece as far as I’m concerned. The voice is in great shape and his emotional range moves the song along with excellent conviction. There is this man lost in a wonderland and we feel and experience, along with him, his romantic vulnerability. Dario’s tenor is never under strain here, though the last note lasts a long time while the orchestra does all its finish-up work. It is a wonderfully simple arrangement, some lovely string work, an exotic keyboard quasi-oriental sound, and a subtle push of rhythm from the bass and percussion departments. This performance is quietly deceiving in its passion and power. We only wish there was more of it……

4. I Talk to the Trees from Paint Your Wagon (Lerner/Lowe)

Normally, musical shows with western themes do not do well long-term on Broadway. Even this well crafted Lerner and Lowe vehicle fizzled after a few years with both live show and motion picture entries (the latter starring Clint Eastwood, mind you!) Two memorable tunes came out of this show, They Call the Wind Mariah (on V. 2 of this series) and the song included on this album, I Talk to the Trees. What I like best about Dario’s performance is the straight-shootin’ masculine tenor sound, especially in the lively bridge. “I can see us on an April night” takes us right back to the great American dream of the old west, a farm, a woman, and the marvels of nature. “Then I’ll you how I spent the day, thinkin’ mainly how night will be” gives us a hint as to how so many damn kids were born out there on the homestead!

A pleasant surprise awaits us when the artist “Ahs” his way through the melody on the return after the bridge; very effective. Yet, when he gets back to the body of the text, “But suddenly my words reach someone else’s ear, touch someone else’s heartstrings, too…..I’ll tell you my dream and while you’re listening to me, I suddenly see them come true…..” there’s pure romance in the air. Yep, let’s head for them thar’ musical hills!

5. Make Someone Happy from Do Re Me (Styne/Comden & Green)

A wonderfully simple song with great lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. “Someone to love is the answer” pretty much sums up the song itself, but Dario’s performance is both intimate and intense, more like a serious popular song accessible to anyone and everyone. This is one of those forgotten shows that had one truly memorable tune emerge from it. And, for the rest, all I can say is listen to Vanni’s treatment of this deceptively simple little tune. Keep in mind, without maturity and authority, this song would mean nothing in the wrong hands. But we go away from the track realizing many emotions have surfaced in us as we listened. So often we don’t give acknowledgement to the arrangements, i.e., this song and the wonderful musicians who lovingly fiddle and finger away unrecognized by the world. Listen carefully how it’s set up by the arranger and the piano, strings, some percussion, pauses and rhythms all in the right places. This is the simplest, quietest track on the album.

6. Gigi from Gigi (Lerner/Lowe)

As in My Fair Lady, Brigadoon, or Camelot, the composers hit pure gold on this score. Charming, filled with vitality and good music, both the play and film versions are winners. This is also the quintessential Dario Vanni Broadway performance. I have never heard this song sung as well or as brilliantly. The believable dramatic range captivates from the beginning, as if we can see the young Gigi through his eyes. The ardent, sophisticated older male simply cannot let this lovely thing slip through his fingers. It’s an arranged marriage, but someone seems to genuinely fall in love. Is it he or she? We’re never sure, I suppose. It was common in 19th century Paris to “collect” beautiful women from their groomed drawing rooms and whisk them away to a gorgeous estate as the newest mantle piece. Gigi, in reality, is possibly too young to really be in love, but ,what the heck, falling in love with love at 18 ain’t all that bad!

Dario’s stellar performance does all kinds of musical miracles in this song. His tone shading, that masculine, almost baritone-tenor instrument of his is professional, yet natural, the way he forms the words, “have I been standing up too close or back to far” tell us he’s truly surprised at this dazzling young thing’s rapidly coming-of-age. As a tour de force in the last few measures, Dario shifts into real tenor territory and jumps up a full octave, bringing the song to a thunderously marvelous conclusion. Beside the excellent strings, the trumpet work of Gil Evans adds a happy dimension to the arrangement. For my money, I’d bet on this one to be the all-time definitive performance!

7. People Will Say We’re in Love from Oklahoma! (Rodgers/Hammerstein)

The 1940s produced some of Broadway’s finest hours, beginning with the true composing stars of that decade, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Hit after hit spilled from their pens: Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, State Fair, and The King and I became national treasures. Oklahoma! (1943) was their first collaboration, but both men had been successful for many years prior. Oscar Hammerstein worked with Jerome Kern in 1925 to give birth to Show Boat while Rodgers had had a highly successful partnership with Larry Hart (Ten Cents a Dance, My Heart Stood Still, My Funny Valentine, You Took Advantage of Me, Blue Moon, My Romance, etc.) in the 1920s and 30s.

Laurie and Curly are meant for each other, no gettin’ around that. But both are a bit puritan and shy, so all this takes time, you see. Enter music and, particularly, this wonderful song in Act I wherein Laurie knows she wants ‘im, but she sure ain’t too forward about it ‘cept in making his favorite pies an’ all. Actually, the song evolves into a duet, but here the rugged masculine interpretation Dario gives this gem results in a perfectly satisfying performance. Not taking at all from the original New York or movie singers of this song (the wonderful John Raitt and Gordon McRae), Dario’s approach is raw and refined at the same moment. His prodigious technique is even held back a bit so he doesn’t run away with the song. After all, this is a guy who sings world-class operatically and turns around to croon “After You’re Gone” like there wasn’t a classical bone in his body. Enjoy!

8. Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise from The New Moon (Romberg/Hammerstein)

This is some of the greatest singing I have ever heard. Period. The 26 year-young Dario Vanni takes this music over the top. What astonishes me, after repeated listenings, is the incredible dynamic variations in one voice. This “song” is actually an aria in English, written at the sunset of the American operetta period, 1928. The New Moon was a big success, and Sigmund Romberg one of the great melodists of his time. We already know about Oscar Hammerstein II. Years later, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy were to immortalize the play in an extravagant M-G-M film, one of their best.

But back to this performance: Dario begins the song with the most romantic of soft voices, “Love came to me, gay and tender, love came to me, sweet surrender…” But, soon, we are to learn that “fickle was she, faithful never! Fickle was she and clever…” So now the wisdom acquired has a bittersweet quality to it, “Flaming with all the glow of sunrise, a burning kiss is sealing the vow that all betray…for the passions that thrill love and lift you high to heaven are the passions that kill love—and let you fall to hell!” And now ascending to an out-of-the-ballpark high A-natural, the singer gives us “so ends each story, softly, as in an evening sunset, the light that gave you glory, will take it all away.” Whoa! What a delivery! The magnificent orchestra on this cut returns to the main melody (neither the conductor nor the arranger are acknowledged here, but rumor has it that it’s a legal thing and at one time a famous arranger/conductor recorded this for possible commercial release on RCA Victor—but that’s all I’ve been told) and, when Dario re-enters, he throws us for a loop with the unexpected. This time he ascends to the high As pp, comes back down, builds back up again on “the light that gave you glory, will take it all (ff!), then slides down to end with a beautifully pitiful “a-way……….” so softly that it blends into the orchestra. You listen and, if you’ve got one modicum of musical taste in your bones, you’ll stand up and cheer—it just doesn’t get any better—at least not on this world! When asked about this performance, the modest, but sincere, Vanni simply replied, “I just think all singing is a miracle—and that I was lucky enough to learn a unique technique which enabled me to express my instrument with control. It’s hard work, but a labor of love.” Damn those tenors! I was born a bathroom bass, I think. C.E.

9. Follow Me from Camelot (Lerner & Lowe)

I’ll warn you now: this could make you cry. Before our ears Dario transforms from Dario Vanni into Arthur into Merlin—a wonderful juxtaposition. Arthur calls upon Merlin to help him recall the wisdoms of a timeless dimension, a hidden past that once contained the ideal dream of Camelot. Merlin injects his invisible self into Arthur and we hear his voice, the wise old man, singing through Arthur. The orchestral arrangement is ethereal with distant harpsichord sounds, lovely strings, and high angelic voices. On the repeat of “to a tree where our hopes hung high, to a dream that will never die, where our long lost tomorrows are part of the sweet by and by,” Dario takes it out of tempo and digs in the power of the emotional content. I hope you are, too, for when I hear this music, I am transported to the mists of Camelot and those wonderful souls struggling with the human question. The singer keeps this magical vocal interface between the aged Merlin and the much more youthful Arthur throughout the song, shading sometimes more one way than the other. But, in its conclusion, there is no doubt that Dario Vanni is at the throttle as he winds it up in ever-expanding ripples of “follow me!” until the chord resolves and shivers down my spine finally cease. The singer’s acting ability is superlative here, delineating the subtle intensity Arthur must bring to the timbre of the song. This recording is a rarity. I hope you are able to experience it as I have and that you are taken away by singer, mood, and song.

10. All I Ask of You from Phantom of the Opera

This recording is a kind of anomaly: first, it was recorded live during an instructional workshop that the teacher-singer was conducting with a young aspirant (soprano Jan Sutton) at a time when everyone and his brother was learning and singing the music of this mega-hit opus. What is interesting historically here, is that we quickly decipher the different colors in Dario’s voice between his Phantom character (Track #1) and his Raoul. Here, the ardent young man woos Christine and she responds lovingly, passionately, forgetting for the moment her intense relationship and attraction to the Phantom. Both student and teacher rise to the occasion in the smashingly good high notes and the emotional content is more than adequate, considering it was an informal recording. Being an anthology, Dario must have felt it important for us to hear him working with not only a soprano, but a student yet! And I can say it is a window into the legacy of Dario Vanni, yet another facet of his musical accomplishment, that of mentor, teacher, coach, and co-singer—all at the same moment.

11. Stout Hearted Men from The New Moon

What is it you say?—there’s a baritone singing this selection? What happened to the tenor? Interestingly, this recording was not made by an older Dario Vanni, but somewhere within his prime, slightly later than Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise on track #8 of this CD. This recording is proof of a great vocal technique. Although we can never mistake the singer for a true baritone, the darkness he adds to his tenor wows me nevertheless. For that’s exactly what the role demands, an earthy swashbuckler with an authoritive, masculine sound. For me, this performance is a hoot, with an orchestral arrangement that would wow any audience. (Again, I am told that for legal and contractual reasons, neither the conductor, arranger, nor orchestra shall be named herein).

From the very first notes, Vanni keeps the power-drive on “full-speed” and delivers 110%. It’s here I get the impression that if Enrico Caruso had recorded an American operetta piece in his prime, it would sound something like what we have here. The darkness in tone may appear to be “baritonal” but, in reality, the resonance stays high like a tenor’s and he smashes into high-A-flats at the end section of this song like they were middle Es. High notes don’t seem as high if they’re darker in color, it seems. As a vocal music critic, I look for flaws in this performance or, at the very least, some kind of “Oh, look I can sound like a baritone, too!” attitude. But I can find no imperfection here, for the artist delivers it all with spot-on accuracy and sincerity. The bridge, “You who have dreams, if you act they will come true!” certainly is as much actor-teacher as it is singer here, the ability to inspire men to arms convinces me. Give me my sword and musket! This energizer is actually fun to listen to.

12. There But for You Go I from Brigadoon (Lerner & Lowe)

“Lonely men around me, trying not to cry…’til the day you found me, there amongst them was I…” forms the main theme of this lovely tune by Rodgers’ & Hammerstein’s only true competition in the 1940s and 50s. When Brigadoon hit Broadway in 1947, it was an overnight success and soon millions were humming, singing, or whistling “The Heather on the Hill,” “Almost Like Being in Love,” “Come to Me, Bend to Me,” or this gem, “There But for You Go I.” The other classic, left out of the 1952 M-G-M film starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charise, was “From This Day On.”, (This stunning duet can be heard on the VV SERIES, THE GREAT BROADWAY DUETS. (DV-DTS-900981-1)).

The opening verse is interpreted by Dario as the lonely man seeking his true love in the mythical land of Brigadoon in Scotland that magically re-appears for one night every one hundred years. Dario’s fresh and handsome singing along with a tracing of strings begin the verse of this winsome tune; some nice oboe work, and fine string-soaring enter once it gets rolling and add a lot to the mood of the lyric and melody. There is also an interesting “Scottish” electric guitar which somehow fits in this early 1980s analog recording. Dario’s last note on the song is worth the price of admission as his incredible breath capacity brings the song to a wonderful Broadway-ish conclusion. C.E.

BONUS SECTION: Selections from Michelangelo (Dario Vanni)

(Notes and comments by Clarkspur Emden, critic-at-large)

“Dario Vanni Sings Michelangelo” was thought to be only an unrealized dream. But these rare recordings were unearthed in 2009 from sessions done probably around 2004. To be a triple-threat in this world is one thing, but how about a quadruple threat? Singer, actor, teacher—and, now, composer. This recently discovered and rare insight into the early stages of Dario Vanni’s Michelangelo tells us much about both the man and the composer. The recordings herein represent previewing recently written songs by singing them and listening to the playback. Who else but the composer is best suited to interpret his vision? We do not pretend here to offer any stellar performances per se; Vanni was near the end of a 42-year singing career when these were made. But…some of the marvelous insights into the workings of a massive opus such as Michelangelo are a delight to witness. As of this writing, Michelangelo has been “audience tested” eight times to rousing audience response. It is now at the place where real production financing is necessary to bring it properly to the world, since the work contains not only marvelous music, but a great story with breath-taking sets and great special effects. Plus it is very cinematic. I hope you enjoy this journey-by-composer & company as much as I do.

13. Prelude to “What Does He Want?”

Early in 1508, Michelangelo is summoned to Rome by Pope Julius II, not to work on the pope’s massive tomb project as the artist had hoped, but to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo argues with Julius, shouting at the pontiff that he is “a sculptor, not a fresco maker!” Nonetheless, the artist feels obliged to pray on the subject. The rest is history. “One hand that reaches out to me, one Adam stands without his Eve,” sets the tone for his marvelous panels 65’ ft. above the chapel floor. “What color is God on my paint brush?!” he pleads.

14. “What Does He Want?"

Confused by what Julius and God may or may not want, Michelangelo asks in confusion and anger at first: “….what is it I do with just these bare hands?” Ultimately, the situation is resolved as God does appear to solve the problem by presenting the concept of Genesis and the birth of Adam—instead of Julius’ wishes, the vogue-of-the-day, Twelve Apostles. “God, if You want this, You must speak to me…” So is born the painter named Michelangelo, four and one-half years of grueling, back-breaking work. But a pointing finger from the branch of a tree outside shadows down to touch the hand of one of the existing wall paintings. Hence one of the most famous fresco panels in art history is created.

15. “The Coloring…”

The artist, now excited about the project, talks to himself as to how he will portray his Biblical characters upon the ceiling. “How can I say this is how it happened?” he asks. And, as for God? “……loving….just loving….” With colors never seen before he will present to the world a brilliant masterwork filled with angels and inspiration.

16. Any Day Without You (Duet with Jenaha McLearn, soprano)

There is a beautiful young novitiate who cleans up after the artist; she is next door listening to the artist’s soliloquy as she falls in love with him. Upon hearing her vocally through the wall next door, Michelangelo thinks the lovely voice is that of an angel speaking to him. When she finally presents herself, he knows her and they speak as young people would speak—until interrupted by papal authorities. But, at this point Michelangelo loves God, but Francine loves him.

17. So Many Forms

After being defiant, Michelangelo is beaten to the floor by Pope Julius; the pontiff curses him and deserts the artist. Injured and bleeding, the artist rises to his knees to ask God, “How do you appear in all these many forms?” Later on, he challenges the Creator by asking, “How do we lose the good that was given, and are we still amongst the forgiven……and will you tell me when the end of the world arrives, who gets to live or is it no one will survive!!?” Being a pious man, however, in the end, he gives way to God’s Will for his life and makes peace. But still…he wonders……

18. Final Love Duet (with Laura Arrington, soprano)

Michelangelo has lost Francine, as she has taken her final vows through a terrible misunderstanding plotted by other dark forces intent on keeping the potential lovers apart. Now, on the eve of “Opening Night at the Sistine” he seeks her out and they say their final good-byes—both of them still in love. When this duet ends, the artist grabs her up into his arms and kisses Francine (now in full habit) passionately on the lips. They would re-engage except, in that moment, Fra Joseph enters to summon Michelangelo to the dying pope’s bedside.

19. Someday When the World We Knew is Gone (with Laura
Arrington, soprano)

This is an out-take which was never used in the show. It shows the poignant music and lyrics reflecting the pathos in the last years of the Renaissance. *

* There is an existing 2008 Original Music Soundtrack from Michelangelo available.