Warming the nippy November night with her presence, Barbra Streisand captivated the Hollywood Bowl — an outdoor amphitheater, a house of 18,000 seats — in a wonderful concert. She looked gorgeous and her voice was gorgeous, often silken and surprising. A powerful, beautiful woman dressed sharp in a black sequined pant-ensemble, Streisand commanded the Bowl’s humongous stage, its 60-piece orchestra, and her fellow performers, primarily young men: Italian singing trio Il Volo, trumpeter Chris Botti, her son Jason Gould. The diva kept the chock-filled arena (it took ages to cram the sardines into the can) in awed silence. Taking her time in a well-paced performance, she alternately schmoozed and delivered a satisfying menu of top-quality material. Photos from the family album — lotsa Barbra — were projected onto giant screens. Indeed the tone was a big Jewish family party thrown for an out-of-control guest list of total strangers.
Streisand opened with “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” shocking this listener with the beauty, power and familiarity of her honeyed soprano. A dusky tone, not displeasing, crept in at the edges. Her Barbra-esque blend of refinement and hamisch-ness peaked with “People,” but it was on view in “How Deep is the Ocean (How High is the Sky),” sung in duet with her son. Rodgers & Hart wrote “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered” for Barbra Streisand, right? Oh … others have sung it? A stirring final selection, “Make our Garden Grow” from Leonard Bernstein‘s “Candide,”got lusty delivery. (Warren Beatty‘s presence in front rows may have inspired.) Despite the frosty temp (Friday’s first-of-two performances was slammed by wicked cold winds), Streisand’s rightful place is at the Bowl with its great musical legacy, and not at an indoor arena. It’s our Carnegie Hall.
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