One more 'South Pacific' item: The absolute ultimate version of a great song
OK, I know I should stop with the 'South Pacific' stuff, but I just couldn't resist one more post.
As I said previously, the songs from this show have been stuck in my head since Tuesday night's opening performance of the production at the Hippodrome -- just as those songs were stuck for ages after I saw the original Broadway revival.
To tell the truth, my tastes were always a little more Rodgers and Hart than Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I have found, over the years, a greater and greater appreciation for the musical scores by the latter duo.
The song from "South Pacific" that really, really moves me is "This Nearly Was Mine." The melody, with its elegant harmony, is top-drawer; the words are exceptionally effective. The structure is terrific, too.
I have admired how this song was delivered by Paulo Szot in the 2008 New York staging; in Washington last year by David Pittsinger in the first national tour of the wonderful Bartlett Sher revival; and this week in Baltimore by Marcelo Guzzo in the second national tour. And, of course, I love the classic performances by Ezio Pinza and others who starred as Emil de Becque.
But there's a version of this song, removed from its theatrical context (and from the original bass/baritone realm), that's in a class by itself. The first time I heard ...
Barbara Cook sing this in concert some years ago, I got shamelessly teary-eyed. I had rarely been so unexpectedly touched by a singer and a song.
So, with thoughts, images and, above all, sounds, of "South Pacific" still swimming around in my head, I just had to relive the experience of this transcendent interpretation, and I hope you enjoy it, too. Here, then, Barbara Cook and "This Nearly Was Mine":