Megan Hilty is a Smash

Megan Hilty with RPO's president, Charlie Owen.
Megan Hilty with RPO president, Charlie Owens.

The  Rochester Pop’s season opened last night with the glorious Megan Hilty.  Don’t worry, if you didn’t go, you have one more chance—tonight at 8 at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Do not miss out!

You know you’re in for something wonderful when conductor Jeff Tyzik starts out a concert  by saying the guest is not only talented, but a genuinely nice person. For anyone who attends Pops concerts as frequently as I do, you know he does not often gush about artists.

The orchestra began the concert performing a Tyzik arrangement of some of Marvin Hamlisch’s best known songs, including “The Way We Were,” “Nobody Does it Better, “The Entertainer,” and of course, many selections from A Chorus Line. It was a splendid way to begin the night, and the orchestra was in top form.

Then, Megan Hilty came out. Wow! Yes, she’s beautiful! Her gowns were breathtaking. But boy, this girl can sing! She does so with such ease and control. There wasn’t a second when she and the orchestra weren’t perfectly in synch. Her ability to interpret every nuance of a song leaves you hanging on every note. Her expression and grace are unparalleled. She was born to be on stage.

The concert was filled with Broadway standards, including  “Luck be a Lady Tonight” and a highpoint, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” I believe Ms. Hilty could be described as a modern day Marilyn Monroe.

Speaking of Norma Jeane, another highpoint was Hilty’s performance of a song from Smash, the two season musical drama on NBC she starred in, “Second Hand Baby Grand.” Prior to its performance, she gave a detailed description about the song. After sung, few eyes were dry. I’ve included the version from Smash (on demand below).

We will be hearing a lot more about Megan Hilty. She is a star. She is a Smash.

Hilty is on stage again tonight with the Rochester Pops. Information is available at RPO.org.

2013 Lotte Lenya winner Doug Carpenter

Doug Carpenter

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Baritone Virtuoso Douglas Carpenter, winner of the 2013 Lotte Lenya competition, joined host Robert Hammond to talk about the annual, international competition, that took place Saturday, April 12 at the Eastman School of Music’s Kilbourn Hall.  Carpenter  discussed his journey to the competition, his repertoire, and what winning has done for his career.  He’s currently in the role of Lt. Cable in Paper Mill House’s production of South Pacific, on stage through May 4.

Doug began his career in opera earning a degree in voice from UNLV and a Masters in Vocal Performance from UCLA. Since graduating, Doug originated roles in two Roger Bean productions, as Skip in Life Could Be A Dream (LA Weekly and LA Drama Critics Circle winner) and Curtis in Summer of Love (Musical Theatre West, Ogunquit Playhouse). Regional credits: Lancelot in Camelot (Pasadena Playhouse), Curly in Oklahoma! (Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Fullerton Civic Light Opera), Tony in West Side Story (Fullerton Civic Light Opera), Thief in See What I Wanna See (Blank Theatre), Prince in Cinderella (Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities), Chris in Miss Saigon (Moonlight Amphitheatre), and Joey in The Most Happy Fella (Dallas Lyric Stage). New York theater: Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Doug is the only singer to win both the American Traditions Competition (2011) and the Lotte Lenya Competition (2013).

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In 1998, to honor the centenary of the birth of Lotte Lenya (1898-1981), an extraordinary singer/actress and one of the foremost interpreters of the music of her husband, Kurt Wiell (1900-1950), the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music established an annual Lotte Lenya Competition.

The competition recognizes talented young singer/actors who are dramatically and musically convincing in repertoire ranging from opera/operetta to contemporary Broadway scores, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. More than a vocal competition, the Lotte Lenya Competition is a theater singing competition that emphasizes wide-ranging repertoire and the acting of songs and arias within a dramatic context.