Kate Smith sings again

Stephanie Blythe to sing standards for San Diego Opera.

Past Event

San Diego Opera Presents Stephanie Blythe and Craig Terry "We'll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith

  • Thursday, December 11, 2014, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
  • Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Avenue, San Diego
  • $20 - $160

Stephanie Blythe is bringing her one-woman show about Kate Smith, "We'll Meet Again: The Songs of Kate Smith," to the Balboa Theater on Thursday, December 11 at 7 p.m.

Blythe was here last April to witness Ian Campbell's announcement of his plan to shutter San Diego Opera. She has added this concert to her schedule as a way to benefit the opera company as it reinvents itself.

The Kate Smith show is a project Stephanie put together and it was presented by PBS in a video production from the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.

If you don’t know Kate Smith, which I didn’t until I watched Stephanie’s show, here are a few of the songs she was best known for: "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain," "Dream a Little Dream of Me," "God Bless America," and "The White Cliffs of Dover."

I may have stated this before but, in my opinion, Stephanie is the best crossover opera singer out there. Her renditions of songs made popular by Kate Smith do not sound like an opera singer doing standards. They sound like a great singer singing great songs.

I interviewed Stephanie Blythe in spring of 2014.

Four sections of the Balboa are currently sold out for this concert. Tickets are available at sdopera.com.

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You are a sweetheart, Garrett Harris, to take such a benign view of somebody impersonating Kate Smith (!) and singing WW II-era songs that were then billed as "opera." Or maybe it was opera support. Whatever it was, it's exactly why I was sorry that Ian Campbell quit America's Finest City. I dreaded the broad-appeal schlock that would replace him and his handiwork. Or maybe it was masterwork. Sic transit gloria.

It's a benefit concert for San Diego Opera. Ian Campbell had 30 years to create a broad appeal for legitimate opera but he failed. There's really no other way to put it. There was not enough appeal to keep his approach solvent. Now, we can get into any number of topics from education to the internet to reality TV but the fact remains that his approach did not change and became obsolete.

Ian Campbell – robber of the rich and liner of his pockets – didn't quit America's Finest Hick Town, it quit him. If anyone defiled the sanctity of moviegoing the way the arrogant schmuck single-handedly took down your beloved opera, I'd have called for their head, yet you cry over his ousting like a baby who had a rattle plucked from her fist. Stop playing the Margaret Dumont card and get over it. I sure hope Blythe didn't dig too deep into the Kate Smith songbook. I won't post the video here, but do a YouTube search on "Kate Smith Heaven" and take a look at the first result that comes up. God bless white America, right Katie?

Scott Marks, as a person with such esoteric taste in film that many card-carrying movie lovers can't keep up with your references, I would think you'd appreciate my point of view here. Kate Smith and her songs were a living schlock package -- not even counting her pre-Madmen era politics -- and to have somebody imitating her at an Opera benefit would be funny were it not so Totally San Diego.

Generous music reviewer Garrett Harris, it was never Ian Campbell's job to develop an "approach" 'that would "create broad appeal" for "legitimate" opera. That task was the Opera board's and the City/County mothers. They failed. Campbell is an artist who for many years brought a complicated and expensive art form to an apogee of beauty -- story-telling with voices, musicians, dancers, costumes and stage sets. Costs ran the organization into the ground. Campbell deserved every penny. Now he's gone.

So RIP "legitimate" opera, which IS obsolete apparently, and hello Kate Smith clones (bad), arts-free public schools (bad), YouTube (a little goes a long way), and reality TV (execrable.) At least somebody ought to sue to salvage San Diego Opera's hollowed-out good name.

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