Steven Winn, in the San Francisco Chronicle, covers the news in advance. (Thanks to ACD for the tip.) I knew crossovers were popular (Anne Sofie and ABBA anyone?), but - honestly - not this popular. Goodness, when I saw this bit in particular, I nearly lost it:
Cleveland, Oct. 17 -- Gwen Stefani, the platinum blond pop singer who has introduced a new generation to songs from "Fiddler on the Roof" and "The Sound of Music," will soon do the same for Franz Schubert. On Tuesday, Stefani and the Cleveland Orchestra announced a musical partnership that calls for Stefani to sample selections from the orchestra's Schubert recordings in a forthcoming pop album. In return, the singer will perform a recital of Schubert lieder at Severance Hall in 2009.
"Gwen doesn't have what you might call a classic art-song voice," said Music Director Franz Welser-Möst, who was heard humming "If I Were a Rich Man" at a news conference with Stefani. "But I love her sound. And I love what she did with 'The Lonely Goatherd.' I never thought I could listen to yodeling again, but she changed my mind." Stefani declined to specify which songs she might sing in her recital. "I know Christa Ludwig did the 'Winterreise,' " said the pop idol, "so I'm thinking maybe I could give that a try. It has some fantastic tunes."
I listened to The Sweet Escape, and - frankly - was left a little disappointed. It seems that Ms. Stefani is dining out on the one-trick pony she first exhibited with "Hollaback Girl" off Love.Angel.Music.Baby; that, dear reader, is a mistake. The first time, it's clever and fresh; the second, it's just yesterday's bagel. Also, leading the album with the single? Utter idiocy. After the radio-friendly "Wind It Up," you have to slog through songs like "Orange County Girl" and "Now That You Got It" before you get to "Fluorescent" and "Wonderful Life." Brilliant, A&R flacks, brilliant. Who does that? Seriously. Are records today so filler-full that you have to lead off with the single, lest the listener get bored and move on? Apparently.
I wasn't happy, and I've revealed a more in-depth knowledge of the Gwen Stefani record than I had wanted to. In any event, I rather liked Mr. Winn's article. Funny stuff.