Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata will perform The Hills Are Alive Oct. 28 at the 560 Music Center. Photo by Dean Karr. Download hires image.
Julie Andrews versus The Jackson 5? Bluegrass on the Swiss Alps? Led Zeppelin meets “The Lonely Goatherd”?
Whatever has happened to “My Favorite Things”?
Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata, that’s what.
In The Hills Are Alive, this cutting edge New York ensemble — the latest project from Peter Kiesewalter, founder and arranger of the Grammy-nominated East Village Opera Company — mixes, mashes and otherwise reshapes The Sound of Music, the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
On Friday, Oct. 28, Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata will make its St. Louis debut as part of the Edison Ovations Series at Washington University.
The performance will begin at 8 p.m. in the university’s 560 Music Center. Tickets are $35; or $30 seniors; $25 for Washington University faculty and staff; and $20 for students and children.
Tickets are available at the Edison Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets. The 560 Music Center is located in the Delmar Loop at 560 Trinity Ave.
‘Do ray me — as easy as 1-2-3’
Kiesewalter, a Sound of Music fan since childhood, initially intended The Hills Are Alive as a one-time-only holiday concert. But shortly after announcing the show, he was contacted by lawyers for The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, which controls rights to the songs.
Yet the organization proved enthusiastic about Kiesewalter’s project and, after hearing a few demos, granted him unprecedented artistic license to reimagine The Sound of Music.
The resulting evening — and accompanying CD, which was released last spring — has been performed a handful of times in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. It currently is making a limited tour of the Midwest and Kiesewalter’s native Canada.
Each song is presented in a sharply different musical style, shifting from rock, jazz and hip-hop to country, R&B and more. “Do ray me,” for example, easily slips into the effervescent pop-soul of The Jackson 5’s “ABC.” “Climb Every Mountain” is mixed with new verses by Brooklyn rapper TK Wonder, while “Something Good” becomes a silky smooth ballad that would sound at home on a Mary J. Blige album.
“Edelweiss” — that defiant ode to patriotic resistance, titled for the white Alpine flower — is slyly filtered through the bluesy bluegrass of Marty Stewart’s “High on a Mountain Top.” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” becomes a Klezmer-flavored conversation between and a rabbi and a young woman on the eve of her Bat mitzvah.
Other numbers include a heavy metal take on “The Lonely Goatherd” and a foot-stomping, arena-rock version of “My Favorite Things.”
In addition to Kiesewalter, who plays keyboards, Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata includes guitarist Ben Butler, bassist Richard Hammond and drummer Jeff Lipstein — three musicians who also comprise the rhythm section for East Village Opera Company. Vocals are provided by a series of guest artists, including Everett Bradley, Victoria Cave and Carolyn Leonhart.
Founded in 1973, the Edison Ovations Series serves both Washington University and the St. Louis community by providing the highest caliber national and international artists in music, dance and theater, performing new works as well as innovative interpretations of classical material not otherwise seen in St. Louis.
Edison programs are made possible with support from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency; the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis; and private contributors. The Ovations season is supported by The Mid-America Arts Alliance with generous underwriting by the National Endowment for the Arts and foundations, corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
WHO: Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata
WHAT: The Hills Are Alive
WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28
WHERE: E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall, 560 Music Center, 560 Trinity Ave., at the intersection of Trinity and Delmar Boulevard
TICKETS: $35; $30 for seniors; $25 for WUSTL faculty and staff; and $20 for students and children. Available through the Edison Theatre Box Office, (314) 935-6543, and all MetroTix outlets.
SPONSOR: Edison Ovations Series
INFORMATION: (314) 935-6543 or edisontheatre.wustl.edu