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Anna Russell Album

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Performer: Anna Russell
  • Composer: Russell Anna
  • Audio CD (July 26 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Canada
  • ASIN: B0000027JD
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #39,820 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Introduction to the Concert (By Women's Club President)
2. How to Write Your Own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera
3. Coloratura aria: Canto dolciamente pipo from the opera La Cantatrice Squelante
4. British - pure but dull: I Love the Spring
5. "Russian folk song: Da, Nyet, Da, Nyet"
6. For loud singers with no brains: Ah Lover! from the operetta The Prince of Philadelphia
7. For singers with tremendous artistry but no voice: Schlumph; Je n'ai pas la Plume de ma Tante
8. For the dramatic soprano: Schreechenrauf
9. The Ring of the Nibelungs (An analysis)

Product Description


This set of Anna Russell's inspired satirical monologues should be labeled with a warning notice. Why? Because after listening to her whirlwind explication of Wagner's Ring Cycle, even the most confirmed Wagnerite will be unable to listen to the Ring for weeks to come. Just listening to Russell declare in an incredulous voice: "I'm not making this up, y'know" is enough to induce you to shed bucketloads of laughter-induced tears. Gilbert and Sullivan fans will find their heroes savaged in her concoction of a typical G&S product, complete with a soprano lead who "loves below her station." Other targets include "the nymphs and shepherds" style of quavery English singing, complete with "hey-nonny-nonny's," coloratura mad scenes, and much else, including Russian folk songs, like her "Da, nyet, da, nyet." This disc is packed with laughs, chuckles, smiles, and everything. --Dan Davis

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The Anna Russel CD was a very humorous but still a true story of the opera. The other parts of the CD were very good. We had heard this program on a long playiong record quite few years ago. We wanted this CD for a friend.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A delightfully funny bridge from daily life into the world of opera. I am thoroughly enjoying this CD.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Essential for anyone seeking a profound musical education.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa24301b0) out of 5 stars 63 reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2079bb8) out of 5 stars Anna Russell Forever Nov. 21 2000
By Gerald Russell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Since I've owned the original LPs (wore them out), the 2 LP compilation (worn out also) and now the CD (still trying to wear it out) - I can say that Anna Russell's take on vocal music (of whatever variety) stands the test of time. It is still funny 30 years after my first listening. I had never been to an opera or a vocal recital when I first heard her send-ups, and I thought they were funny then. The more I heard and learned about music, music performance and musical performers, the more I realized how accurate her send-ups really are. And she is still funny.
I saw here "live" at McCarter Theatre at Princeton many years ago during her series of farewell performances, and even though 50% of the audience knew the routines as well as she did, everyone laughed themselves silly.
About 10 years ago, I finally wrote her a fan letter, to which she responded - in inimitable fashion.
If you like vocal music, think you might like vocal music or just want to listen to a master comedienne who knows her topic (you name it vocally, she knows it and can sing it, and make it excruciatingly funny)In short - BUY THIS!
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2374d38) out of 5 stars ANNA RUSSELL -- SUPER SATIRIST Dec 18 2004
By Loren D. Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I was first introduced to the music (?) of Anna Russell sometime in the mid 50's by way of an LP Album titled, I think, __ ANNA RUSSELL SINGS, AGAIN __. Don't hold me to that exact title, I could be mistaken. Two selections from that long ago heard LP, and which have stuck with me for the intervening period of approximately 50 years, are both on this CD. They are, as you might anticipate, "How to Write Your Own Gilbert and Sullivan Opera" and "The Ring of the Nibelungs."

I have never forgotten lines like "You remember Alveric!," and her description of "My Friend Erda, the Green Faced Monster", or her shout of "Hi, Siegfried," all from her version of Wagner's Ring Cycle. Her musical depictions of the characters in the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera section, along with her version of the "obligatory patter song, have also remained ingrained in my memory."

I, of course also enjoy the other 7 tracks on this CD, but nostalgia plays a great part in my extra enjoyment of the two tracks I mentioned above. Her "Introduction to the Concert by the President of the Women's Club" is so exactly on the mark, that you can almost visualize a rather pompous woman standing on a podium and using her oratorical skills just as Ms. Russell has depicted them.

All in all, I think that Anna Russell was one of the greatest, original performance satirists of our age.

Unlike some of the other reviewers here, she didn't "ruin opera" for me. What she did do, is to give me another, often light hearted, way to look at some of the more melodramaric operas, and, amazingly enough, to make better sense out of Wagner's oh so complicated Ring Cycle operas.

In my opinion, this is a CD that should be reintroduced to the listening public with enough fanfare to popularize it.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa22f848c) out of 5 stars Can't stop laughing! May 18 2000
By David Gottner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Russell here does a great parody of opera, everything from Handel, Gilbert & Sullivan, and Wagner. It's not necessary to know the operas beforehand to be reduced to helpless laughter during the presentation, (I have never heard Gilbert & Sullivan, for example, yet loved her talk on "How to write a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta"), but it is doubly funny if you are familiar with the musical reference.
Her parody of German is really funny! You can tell she is making up german-sounding words (or French or Russian or whatever) without them actually being words. She also "germanizes" English words.
Warning: You may not be able to listen to Wagner's ring operas with the appropriate seriousness after this album!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa21084ec) out of 5 stars It doesn't get much better than this April 16 2002
By usagibrian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Anna Russell is one of those comedians it's necessary to have on your shelf because when the mood strikes for a certain type of laughter, there is no substitute. "Unique" and "classic" get bandied about frequently in Internet reviews, but she is without question an artist who deserves both appellations.
She said of her RING routine, "Some people were shocked that I would send up this august piece of music, but I don't consider it a sendup. I merely tell the story as accurately as possible and play the bits of music exactly as written. I can't help it if the story is absurd." This is the heart of the brilliance of her humor. All her subjects--from the foibles of vocalists to the lady-president of the local music appreciation society to the homogenous nature of Gilbert and Sullivan operetta--are treated with that unerring eye of accenting the inherent absurdity.
It's just wonderful for any aged listener, it doesn't date, and it even has the veneer of culture. So long as the listener has a sense of humor, you can't go wrong.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa28de414) out of 5 stars pretty hilarious June 8 2000
By Ray Barnes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Anna Russell's parody has stood the long test of time well. As far as tongue-in-cheek ribbing of the Ring is concerned, she pretty well has the field to herself. Her material is well-conceived and she knows how to make the most of it with prudent timing and delivery. A great deal of the script is focused on the funny half-truth, such as the scene in Das Rheingold where Erda comes up from the ground, and sings, to quote the recording, "Weiche, Wotan, weiche; which means Be careful, Wotan, be careful. She then bears him eight daughters."
The humor is enhanced by musical examples, which are played by Russell on a solo piano. The rendering of a brief section of the Magic Fire Music reveals her to be a pretty good pianist. I suspect she could have played a great deal better if the situation called for it. Her soprano voice is accurate enough to make the Valkyries, the Rheinmaidens, and the Norns sound as ridiculous as possible. Great stuff. Recommended.