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Kismet

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Yamaha
Kismet
Alfred_Drake_Kismet_1954.jpg

Kismet is a musical with lyrics and musical adaptation (as well as some original music) by Robert Wright and George Forrest, adapted from the music of Alexander Borodin, and a book by Charles Lederer and Luther Davis, based on Kismet, the 1911 play by Edward Knoblock. The story concerns a wily poet who talks his way out of trouble several times; meanwhile, his beautiful daughter meets and falls in love with the young Caliph.

The musical was first produced on Broadway in 1953 and won the Tony Award for best musical in 1954. It was also successful in London's West End and has been given several revivals. A 1955 film version was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

The musical was commissioned by Edwin Lester, founder and director of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, who conceived of a musical based on the 1911 play Kismet by Edward Knoblock.  Lester had previously produced Song of Norway, with the same composing team, adapting the melodies of Edvard Grieg. For Kismet, the writers seized upon the melodies of Alexander Borodin, which they felt had a suitable exotic flavor and lush melodies.

Kismet premiered in Los Angeles and then moved to San Francisco in the summer and autumn of 1953.  A successful change during the tryouts was to transform the character of Hajj from being merely a beggar to also being a poet. Charles Lederer became producer as well as book writer.  The production moved to Broadway on December 3, 1953, playing at the Ziegfeld Theatre. The director was Albert Marre, with choreography by Jack Cole and sumptuous settings and costumes by Lemuel Ayers. The original cast starred Alfred Drake as the poet Hajj, Doretta Morrow as his daughter Marsinah, Richard Kiley as the young Caliph of Baghdad, Henry Calvin as the Wazir and Joan Diener as Lalume, the vampy wife of the evil Wazir. Bodybuilder Steve Reeves played the wizard's guard, a mute role. Bill Johnson later took over the role of Hajj, and Elaine Malbin the role of Marsinah. Columbia Masterworks Records recorded the original Broadway cast in late 1953; the recording was later reissued on CD by Masterworks Broadway Records.

The show opened on Broadway in the midst of a newspaper strike,  and since newspaper reviews were unavailable, the producers used television advertising to promote the show. The musical caught the popular attention and ran for a successful 583 performances, winning the 1954 Tony Award for Best Musical.  The strike may have ultimately assisted the popularity of the show, since the reviews, arriving a few weeks after the opening, were not all favorable.  The critic of Time magazine, punning on the name of the composer Borodin, disparaged the score as "a lot of borrowed din."  Walter Kerr wrote that "It's the sort of show that would sell its soul for a joke, and the jokes should be better at the price."  William Hawkins, however, wrote that it was "noisy, spectacular, and vigorous. ... It is melodic and gay".  Bloom and Vlastnik noted that it was the score that made the show successful, as the songs "Stranger in Paradise" and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads" were "huge hits on radio, television and records."

Kismet was even more successful in London's West End, enjoying a 648 performance run at the Stoll Theatre commencing in April 1955. The London production opened with the three stars of the Broadway cast, Drake, Morrow and Diener. They were subsequently replaced by Tudor Evans, Elizabeth Larner and Sheila Bradley, respectively.
#1 - June 01, 2017, 10:47:19 AM
 
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Yamaha
And This Is My Beloved


This song was in the 1953 musical Kismet and is credited to Robert Wright and George Forrest. Like all the music in that show, the melody was in fact based on music composed by Alexander Borodin, in this case, Borodin's String Quartet in D.

The same melody had earlier (1946) been used for a song credited to William Engvick, Bert Reisfeld and Alec Wilder entitled "Spring Magic," which was recorded by Charlie Spivak and his Orchestra.

A version by Mario Lanza became popular in 1956. Sergio Franchi sang this song in 1962 when he was discovered by Norman Luboff singing on Sunday Night at the London Palladium.

 A favorite guest of Ed Sullivan, Franchi sang it on the February 4, 1968, broadcast by CBS; and recorded on his 1964 RCA Victor album The Exciting Voice of Sergio Franchi

#2 - June 01, 2017, 10:48:59 AM
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Wishing you the best day ever followed always by better tomorrows !!

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