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2011 Kennedy Center Honorees Announced

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Thank you for posting, Mme. Hermine. If not for that omission, I would be quite pleased with this list:

The 2011 Kennedy Center Honors, announced Wednesday, salute four architects of music: the improvisational saxophone of Sonny Rollins, the Broadway warmth of soprano Barbara Cook, the tender cello of Yo-Yo Ma and the pulsing anthems of Neil Diamond.

The center has also selected Meryl Streep, who has sung in a few movies and on Broadway but is much better known for her flawless interpretations of diverse characters over the past 35 years.

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I enjoyed it- skipped the saxophone player.

I was impressed by the amount of time CBS gave to the band paying tribute to Rollins, and to its two tenor saxophonists, Joe Lovano and Ravi Coltrane, who did some serious blowing. As a point of comparison, it was as if for the Balanchine tribute in 1978 they had broadcast bits of Agon and Kammermusik # 2.

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I knew I would enjoy the tribute to Streep, and I did, (Iron Lady -- very scary!) but I was thrilled with the homage to Barbara Cook, who I don't think gets enough attention lately (for all that she's got a new CD out). The ending of Candide always makes me very teary, and it did again. And the combination of styles for Yo Yo Ma was great -- if Edgar Meyers played something other than the bass he would be recognized as the rock star he is.

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Ok dirac, you've forced me out of the closet blushing.gif With absolutely nothing on TV during this "rerun" time of year, I was happy to see the Kennedy Center Honors were being telecast. And it was a thoroughly enjoyable 2 hours. I intended to skip Sonny Rollins and Neil Diamond in favor of folding laundry but ended up glued to my seat. I knew nothing about Sonny Rollins and the film clip was instructive. Btw, they didn't gloss over sensitive issues like drug use for Mr. Rollins and alcohol and depression for Barbara Cook. The stage performances were outstanding. I even liked the Neil Diamond segment. He's not a favorite of mine but as I was listening I have to say I was impressed by how many recognizable tunes he wrote. My favorite segment was Barbara Cook - what a voice! (If ever I have dollars left after buying ABT tickets, my dream would be to see her at Feinstein's.) Glenn Close's rendition of Sondheim's Losing My Mind was breathtaking rivaled only by the ensemble and chorus singing Make My Garden Grow - always gives me goosebumps. I love Meryl Streep but I felt her segment was the weakest. As you would expect, the musical segments were more enjoyable even though Anne Hathaway did her best during the Streep segment (she's a spitfire - get that girl on Broadway!) Meryl and Yo Yo Ma seemed to be having the most fun. Barbara Cook was straight-faced most of the time but perhaps she was simply overcome.

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That's okay, Barbara. Emoticons come in handy occasionally but the fewer the better, I always say.:) Like you and sandik, I was pleased that Cook was chosen. It's nice to see performers like her (and Rollins) who are well known to relatively few get this kind of national exposure. I intended to watch the show myself but forgot to record it.

It doesn't surprise me that the Diamond segment was successful. I was dragged to one of his concerts many years ago and had an unexpectedly good time. He's written a ludicrous number of hits and he's an energetic stage performer. Hard man to dislike whatever you think of his music.

I think Anne Hathaway would be great on the stage. Did she sing? She has a voice.

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I saw Anne Hathaway sing at an Encores presentation in New York of the musical Carnival. It was in 2002, I think. She was excellent. I think she also sang at the Academy Awards the year that Hugh Jackman hosted. She's also singing in the upcoming movie of Les Miz, where she will sing Fantine. She's much more than just a pretty face. She is multi talented.

I have to disagree about Glenn Close. I thought she was the only person in the Cook tribute who had a poor voice. So many divas on one stage!

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Btw, they didn't gloss over sensitive issues like drug use for Mr. Rollins and alcohol and depression for Barbara Cook.

No they didn't. Of course hard drug use for jazz musicians in the 50's was practically de rigeur, and addiction an occupational hazard.

Not a lot stood out for me this year, although I enjoyed everything except the Diamond segment (but I agree, you can't not like the guy), which I fast-forwarded through. One of the funniest moments was when Stephen Colbert came out to begin the Yo-Yo Ma tribute, stopped and waved, then strode offstage, reappearing quickly and miming a great "The podium's over there? OK." I've still never seen a funnier KC Honors speech than what Steve Martins gave for Paul Simon in 2002.

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Yes, Anne Hathaway sang during the Streep segment! I also agree that Glenn Close had the weakest voice - how could she compare to Rebecca Luker or Kelli O'Hara or omg Audra McDonald? But I think she did a heart-wrenching interpretation of the lyrics that must have pleased Barbara Cook. You can probably see the performances on YouTube - I know I found a segment on Zubin Mehta that I had missed years ago.

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I did see online a rousing version of "Sweet Caroline," a terrific song. I agree about Ma - true, he went through the classical repertory a long time ago and has been exploring different avenues, but his classical prowess is still central to his prominence. KInd of like Baryshnikov in that way.

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I agree that Glenn Close is a very different kind of singer than many of the other classically trained voices we heard, but both she and Patty Lupone (can't remember now what she sang, and am too rushed to look it up) gave the best combination of acting and singing that we saw, and that is at the heart of what Cook was getting to in all that masterclass footage they showed. I loved her downright nature in those clips.

Cook: Do you know what this (song) is about

Student: (long, hesitant answer, full of sentiment)

Cook: It's about sex.

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