12 October 2017
Princessing the theatre
CJ has been in recess as I went on a cruise with my mum. That's family but there's always some music to interest CJ. This was the Diamond Princess. The cruise was out of Tokyo/Yokohama to Busan (South Korea) to Yokohama to Korsakov (Russia) to Yokohama. It's a cruise, so it's as more resort than travel although we do touch on places but most of the music is on board, in a bar or theatre or atrium. I always enjoy the theatre shows, mostly pop songs made into a little story, like a light Route 66 road movie. There was one aria-infested light operatic show, all long dresses and suits and even bow ties. Nothing deep, but all good and all superbly professional. I think of Ginger Rogers who did everything Fred did but backwards and in high heels. You'd have to add they all do on a rolling stage, although it was pretty calm for this trip. Eleven dancers (7 women, 4 men) and four singers and the DP Orchestra comprising piano, bass, guitar, drums, sax/flute, trumpet, trombone. They sometimes added two violins. The operatic show really was really mostly modern with hits from the movies, not least a Bond medley, but featured memorables from Carmen and the inevitable Time to say goodbye. The other shows were strings of pop hits, nicely interleaved, not at all broken up or a string of numbers. This is well orchestrated, arranged and presented with some top gear. They use a digital mix, all timed and programmed. I had heard an opera soprano singing in another theatre and hated the uneven and cutting tones, but in the theatre, her sound was spot on. It just shows the value of a good sound person. These are professional players, chosen from large fields and working nightly. The musos take charts from visiting performers and play after a few hours rehearsal. Impressive. I particularly noticed the drummer, Molly, with a fabulous sense of underplay and apt fills, but they were all good. She'd only played onboard for 6 weeks. Suffice to say, I don't attend anything like this otherwise (perhaps musical theatre could come close) but I love it. Nothing deep and meaningful but great skills and catchy tunes.
The Diamond Princess orchestra and dancers included Molly Jones (drums) and Jim Yamakawa (bass).