25 April 2024

Duets, again

I’m not a great fan of musicals. I don’t dislike them, but I rarely choose to watch them start to finish. I think it is the artificiality that puts me off. The last one I watched was, I think, La La Land. I still haven’t seen Sound of Music! That doesn’t mean there are not some great songs. Many of the great standards (see this post) have come from musicals.

I’ve posted before about duets. What I didn’t appreciate at the time was how many of these just two people singing the same song. It’s rare that the song was written as a duet. I suspect that most of those which were, came from musicals and opera, where there is a story to tell beyond the specific song.

This probably should have been obvious, but in my case, the realisation was triggered by a duet between Lesley Garrett and Michael Ball, which came up on my smart speaker. The song is Phantom of the Opera. I don’t know the musical at all. The duet that caught my attention was a studio recording, (this one) which means it has a better balance between the two voices, especially at the end. Even so, this performance by Lesley Garrett is astonishing, demonstrating an incredible range and superb breath control. The last dramatic minute or so could easily have degenerated into just shrieking, but she retains her musicality throughout.

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