Opera Index presents ‘Brigadoon’ at The Paley Center

May 29, 2014 By Nino Pantano Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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On Saturday, May 17, Opera Index presented the 1966 rare televised color production of “Brigadoon” at The Paley Center in New York. “Brigadoon” won five Emmy’s and was part of a series of Broadway shows sponsored by the Armstrong Circle Theatre. The program was repeated in 1968. The director was Fielder Cook and the conductor was Irwin Kostel. 

This special showing of “Brigadoon” had a large group of followers including Opera Index President Murray Rosenthal, and Vice Presidents Philip Hagemann and Brooklynite Janet Stovin, among others.

“Brigadoon” featured Robert Goulet, Sally Ann Howes, Peter Falk, Marlyn Mason, Edward Villella, Finlay Currie and Linda Howe. Composer Frederick Loewe worked with American librettist Alan Jay Lerner to collaborate on tunes such as “The Heather on the Hill,” “Almost Like Being in Love” and “There But For You Go I.”

Goulet sang magnificently as Tommy, and his big expansive baritone and persona dominated the screen; young Peter Falk as Jeff was excellent as a sidekick skeptic with a good bar room soliloquy at the end. Sally Ann Howes captivated as Fiona, whose love defied time and circumstance.

Rebecca Paller, associate curator of The Paley Center for the Media introduced audience celebrities, who included the costume designer Bob Mackie, who worked on “Brigadoon”; Brooklyn-born soprano Elaine Malbin, whose TV film of “Madama Butterfly” was shown at The Paley Center recently; and the legendary chanteuse Marilyn Maye. Interviews by Eric Myers of Opera News with dancer/actor Edward Villella and actress/singer Marlyn Mason followed.

Villella, an internationally-acclaimed ballet dancer, told the audience of his boyhood in Queens and his Italian-American upbringing. His father was a truck driver who at first did not accept Edward’s chosen career, but after seeing his son perform, he proudly gave out flyers at work. Villella fondly recalled his appearances in Brooklyn and the golden Balanchine years at the New York City Ballet.

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