Friday, January 03, 2014

Simple Dreams (Book Review)

Simple Dreams is Linda Ronstadt's "musical memoir," and in it, she discusses her forays into light opera (The Pirates of Penzance) and opera (La Boheme). Ronstadt is remarkably modest for someone with her many successes, and she is clear as to her limitations. When she is offered Pirates, she insists on auditioning. When she does Boheme, she writes, "I realized that I should have insisted on auditioning for this production, too, as it was beginning to dawn on me how difficult the singing was going to be." She later quotes Frank Rich's criticism of her performance and agrees with him!

I was an usher at the Public Theatre in the 1970s and still had many friends there when Pirates was done in the early 1980s. By all accounts, Ronstadt was a lovely, unassuming woman. That comes through in Simple Dreams, as does her sheer love of music. It's far from a great book, but its 200 or so pages include enough interesting stories to make it worth the while of anyone interested in Rondstadt or in music in general.

(library book)

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