The Anna Russell Album?

Anna Russell

1953/1972/1991: Sony Classical MDK 47252

  1. Introduction to the Concert (by the 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)

Well of course it’s her condensation of the Ring cycle that makes this album a prize, but really it’s all just yummy as hell. With her British accent so broad as to be inelegant, Anna Russell delivers here a heaping platter of musical silliness laced with arch commentary that leaves one quite at a loss for breath at certain moments—a stellar example being her comment about “Da, Nyet, Da, Nyet” being “roughly the equivalent of our song ‘Let’s Do It’… …but collectively, of course….” Obviously it helps to have some knowledge of the sociopolitical climate of the times of her recordings, but in the case of the Ring synopsis it hardly matters, it’s so goddamned funny and ACCURATE. If you want more Anna Russell, unfortunately only a couple of other albums of hers are available on CD or even to be found on vinyl, but you *can* still get her wonderful autobiography, I’m Not Making This Up, You Know! Which of course I heartily recommend.