Way Back to Paradise

Way Back to Paradise

by Audra McDonald
     
 

McDonald's solo CD debut confirms the three-time Tony winner's place in the forefront of young singing theater artists. It displays the impressive range of her distinctive, opera-level soprano and her capacity for out-of-the-ordinary emotional expressiveness. Way Back to Paradise also exhibits McDonald's audacious spirit: Every selection is from the pen of aSee more details below

Overview

McDonald's solo CD debut confirms the three-time Tony winner's place in the forefront of young singing theater artists. It displays the impressive range of her distinctive, opera-level soprano and her capacity for out-of-the-ordinary emotional expressiveness. Way Back to Paradise also exhibits McDonald's audacious spirit: Every selection is from the pen of a young theater composer. Songs such as Ricky Ann Gordon's musical setting of Langston Hughes's poem "Dream Variations" and Adam Guettel's "The Allure of Silence" are choice and challenging expressions from emerging new talents. McDonald's searing rendition of Michael John La Chiusa's bruising "Mistress of the Senator" is no less adventurous. Tangy, blues-tinged and powerful, McDonald's rendition of Guettel's "Baby Moon" is a promising preview of what this great talent will do someday when -- hopefully -- she tears into Porgy and Bess.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
Broadway star Audra McDonald took an unexpected approach to her debut solo album, eschewing the usual practice of performing standards in favor of spotlighting a group of young theater composers in songs, many of them given their first recordings, written for her or for so far unproduced musicals. Jason Robert Brown, Jenny Giering, Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Guettel, and Michael John LaChiusa contributed a variety of material, allowing McDonald to assume such characters as the wife of an accused murderer (Brown's "You Don' t Know This Man" from the subsequently produced Parade), an expectant mother (Guettel's "Baby Moon"), and the "Mistress of a Senator" (from LaChiusa's 1994 musical Hello Again). LaChiusa's "Way Back to Paradise" was a feminist anthem from Marie Christine, a show in which McDonald planned to star, while "A Tragic Story" was Guettel's setting of a comic poem by William Makepeace Thackeray, and "A Lullaby" was Gordon's melody to a text by James Agee. Thus, the material was diverse, if unfailingly theatrical. Nevertheless, this was an art project, with its restrained, piano plus chamber orchestra arrangements and seriously intended, dramatic songs. What kept it from being stuffy and fragmented was the commitment of McDonald's performances. Along with a stunning soprano voice, she proved very much a singing actress who invested each song with a believable character. She was better at passion than humor (notably failing to bring out the ironic sting in Brown's "Stars and the Moon"), but she saved Gordon's three settings of texts by Langston Hughes, even making them the structure on which the rest of the album hung. She deserved accolades both for the risky concept of the album and for its execution.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/22/1998
Label:
Nonesuch
UPC:
0075597948226
catalogNumber:
79482

Tracks

Read More

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Audra McDonald   Primary Artist,Vocals
Emily Mitchell   Harp
Dawn Upshaw   Vocals
Martin Agee   Violin
Belinda Whitney-Barratt   Violin
Kenneth Bichel   Keyboards
Kenneth Burward-Hoy   Viola
John Campo   Woodwind
Paul Faulise   Trombone
Lawrence Feldman   Woodwind
Gordon Gottlieb   Percussion
Jeanne LeBlanc   Cello
Jesse Levy   Cello
Sharon Moe   French Horn
Lee Musiker   Piano,Celeste
Brian O'Flaherty   Trumpet
Suzanne Ornstein   Concert Master
Clay Ruede   Cello
Russ Rizner-French   French Horn
David Tofani   Woodwind
Cenovia Cummins   Violin
James Pugh   Trombone
Anthony Kadleck   Trumpet
Jeffrey Marchand   Woodwind
Debra Shufelt   Viola
Joel Pitchon   Violin
Chuck Wilson   Woodwind
Adam Guettel   Vocals
Eric Stern   Piano,Celeste,Conductor
Richard Heckman   Woodwind
Naomi Katz   Violin
Peter Donovan   Bass
Tom Partington   Percussion
Michael Roth   Violin

Technical Credits

Bruce Coughlin   Orchestration
Don Sebesky   Orchestration
Robert Hurwitz   Executive Producer
Tommy Krasker   Producer
Terrence McNally   Liner Notes
Joel Moss   Engineer
Eric Stern   Orchestration
Larry Hochman   Orchestration

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >