Following the successful releases of Patti LuPone's Far Away Places - Live at 54 BELOW and Norbert Leo Butz's Memory & Mayhem - Live at 54 Below, Broadway Records released Broadway veteran Christiane Noll's Gifts - Live at 54 BELOW. Noll's touching and evocative solo cabaret is a tribute to her family, and recounts her journey from being the child of accomplished musicians to being a Broadway star and consummate vocalist. Listeners may recognize her work and voice from Frank Wildhorn's Jekyll & Hyde (Original Broadway Cast Recording), Chaplin: The Musical (Original Broadway Cast Recording), or any of her solo albums.
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Throughout the album, Noll demonstrates her range and control. She easily jumps back and forth between classical operatic stylings and Broadway's more brash and belt-heavy bravado, with her renditions of "Somewhere Out There" from An American Tail, "The Sound of Music," from The Sound of Music, "In His Eyes" from Jekyll & Hyde, "Send in the Clowns" from Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, and an arrangement her father wrote for her of Ella Fitzgerald's "Mr. Paganini." Each number is simply exhilarating, sublime, and breathtakingly beautiful.
Throughout the spoken moments on the disc Noll gives her audiences glimpses into her own life. She narrates short and often humorous autobiographical vignettes about growing up as the daughter of Ronald Noll, a conductor and Emmy Award-winning music supervisor for CBS, and soprano Sara-Ann Noll. Some of the more memorable accounts feature her father's Record Wall in the basement of their New Jersey home and her early childhood as the toddler who slept through Puccini. Noll also talks about interrupting an opening night performance of Victor Herbert's Naughty Marietta that starred her mother and was conducted by her father.
Noll's performance of Gifts was recorded live on October 14, 2012 at Broadway's Nightclub 54 BELOW. The audio was mixed at Aerial View Studio by Aaron Ankrum and mastered by Greg Reierson from Rare Form Mastering.