Audra McDonald shined as she walked on to the San Francisco Symphony stage and sang her opening number, “Gorgeous” from the musical, The Apple Tree. McDonald really did look gorgeous in her bright beautiful gown. From that moment on, she had the entire audience captivated during her 2-hour concert. The combination of McDonald’s incredible vocals and the lush orchestral arrangements, played beautifully by the San Francisco Symphony, was simply stunning.
One of McDonald’s strength is choosing a wide-variety of material from different musicals and composers, ranging from standards like The Sound of Music to little gems from Anyone Can Whistle and Babes in Arms. Two of my favorites of the night were “Ribbons Down My Back” from Hello Dolly! and the lovely “Dividing Day” from Light in the Piazza. Nothing was as surprisingly beautiful as “Pure Imagination” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. (It was her first audition song when she arrived to New York City!) It was completely breathtaking.
Honestly, the entire show was perfection — even the group sing-along to My Fair Lady’s “I Could Have Dance All Night” was genius. McDonald’s charm and engaging stage presence was felt all the way up to the last row of the balcony. She had us on the edge of our seats the entire time.
Ted Sperling’s conducting was fantastic! The San Francisco Symphony sounded magnificent and I know it was because of Sperling’s orchestrations and direction that this one-night engagement came together so perfectly. I had goose-bumps for the majority of the evening.
It was an inspiring night of music – one that will soon not be forgotten.
Thank you, Audra, for sharing yourself with us! It was perfect.
Set list for Audra McDonald’s concert with the San Francisco Symphony: (thanks to Mike R. for posting this on his site)