Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Meanwhile, at the Staples Center

November 21, 2006

"Come back to the five and dime, Barbra Streisand, Barbra Streisand."
-Sandra Bernhard

Yes, despite myself, I saw the Streisand show tonight. Yes, it was fabulous. She can sing and she does it well despite the effects of aging one would expect. Her career choices may not have always been the best, but tonight all was forgiven as she reprised much of the music that made her great, including many of the songs from Funny Girl.

It was a star encrusted evening with Quincy Jones, Bill Maher, Phil Jackson, Sen. Barbara Boxer and future Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi in the audience, to name just a few. (The latter two she identified from the stage.) The comedy shtick was a bit heavy at times, but the Bush routine was nowhere near as bad as it was made out to be in the press. It was far funnier and less painful than the garbage Il Divo had to sing and say.

No question, they suck. Here’s the greatest irony of all — across town, LA Opera has just opened a production of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel in English to make it more palatable and user-friendly for people who don't normally attend the opera. Meanwhile, down the street, Il Divo, sang “Unchained Melody” and “Unbreak My Heart” in Spanish to a largely English-speaking American audience to make it sound more operatic, ostensibly for the same group, I would assume. Go figure.

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