Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Night of Song

For my birthday on Monday, my neighbors Scott, Will and Marcia took me out to dinner and to the "Open Mic-Opera-Cabaret" event "Night of Song" sponsored by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. This was my first "Night of Song" and will certainly not be my last.

Created by Nathan Granner, Elaine Fox and Silvia Stoner, Night of Song is advertised as an "an impromptu ballyhoo of music". Usually comprising opera, some standards and show tunes, the show is both sophisticated and highly entertaining.

Monday's show was held at Bar Natasha, an upscale nightclub-restaurant in the popular Crossroads district. Gay owned and operated, it is not a traditional "gay bar" but more of a cabaret drawing an upscale, sophisticated audience.

The food was excellent but the menu is limited. "NO bar food here", the person on the phone told Marcia when she made our reservation. But from my limited glance at the menu, there was not much else of substance besides the 2 nightly specials that qualified for a full dinner. For some reason, our cheery and pleasant waitress just could not count that we were four and only gave us one menu. We asked for more and received one more. Ok... to move things along we all ordered the pork tenderloin special with mashed potatoes and vegetables. I got the duck soup as a starter, a slightly bland stock was full of nice duck pieces and some vegetables served "en croute". Scott got the shrimp cocktail, 4 large shrimp in a spicy creamy sauce. They looked good and should be for $14.00. We also finally convinced the lady to get drinks for all of us. They had my Finlandia Mango vodka that I love, but 303 does a better job of serving it icy cold.

But the night was about the music. The three talented singers Daniel Erbe, tenor, Stephanie Laws, Soprano and a third one whose name I did not catch but will find out were joined by the pianist(also unknown to me, hey! I had a couple of martinis by then so when I sober up, I'll get the 411, OK?)who seemingly could play anything they but in front of him. The repertoire was mostly opera favorites, Carmen (Habanera), Handel (Let the Bright Seraphim from Sampson), Manon, Susannah, Butterfly, the ones audiences love. It was fun watching the singers leaf through books titled "101 Great Arias", "The Best Italian Arias for Soprano", "Puccini Favorites", et al., deciding what to sing next. Fully impromptu, elegant and sophisticated karaoke, performed by professionals.

Definitely worth a repeat trip. They sang "Happy Birthday" to me and a couple others. I have never heard my name sound so wonderful!

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