What's Michael Crawford got that many of us would like to have? In this 1998 concert Crawford gives an intriguing performance, starting off with a standing audience ovation after his very first number.
The first time I became aware of this performer was his Cornelius Hackl in the film version of "Hello, Dolly." I recall rather wondering how he managed to get cast, as he sang the lovely "It Only Takes a Moment" in the park scene.
It was certainly not a beautiful voice I was hearing--somewhat raspy, a bit unfocused, and ordinary. I attributed its effectiveness to an extension of his well- played Cornelius character, but I was not at all impressed with his natural vocal instrument.
Now, thirty years later he appears in this vocal concert, with full orchestra, chorus, splashy lighting and theatrical effects. Since the 1969 film he's won numerous awards and gained a devoted following from his famous original title role in "Phantom of the Opera."
The voice has gained some strength and control, yet it's basically the same instrument heard back in the late 60s. What he does appear to have is an astute sense of theatre, timing, keen ear, and other attributes of professionalism.
He also sings with his whole heart, and puts everything he's possibly got into the moment. His fervent desire to communicate enhances his diction and projection, and he obviously loves his craft.
The audience responds lovingly and enthusiastically to a well-conceived format and "package." Perhaps his basic "ordinary" instrument is in tune with these times of electronic enhancement; perhaps there's something here that's not overwhelming--a kind of kid-next-door up there making good.
Whatver the case, this performer is making the most of what he's been given to work with. All one can say is, more power, Mr. Crawford.
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