For a crowd of 17,568 at Hollywood Bowl, Friday night seemed to be some enchanted evening. Certainly it was a grand night for singing, as peripatetic pops maestro Erich Kunzel led the Los Angeles Philharmonic and assorted vocalists in the first of two sold-out evenings of Rodgers & Hammerstein.
After an opening orchestral medley and a chorus from "State Fair," Kunzel's program carried through the biggest hits from "The King and I," "Oklahoma!" "Carousel," "South Pacific" and "The Sound of Music." He kept things moving briskly musically, introduced each set, and indulged in some elephantine bits of comic interplay with the soloists.
For the soloists, the Bowl shell was lit in alternating bands of blue and purple, creating a sort of mammoth Cabaret Cahuenga. With the help of supportive amplification, the singers did go far in creating an illusion of friendly immediacy.
Soprano Katherine Terrell--in her Philharmonic debut--tenor Mark DuBois and baritone Lewis Dale von Schlanbusch all brought fresh, clear voices to their assignments and respect for the texts. They worked as effectively in duets as in solos, projecting affectionate relish for the sentimental numbers and energetic gusto in the comic turns.