Gifts: Live At 54 Below
Christiane Noll is a performer that raises the question, "why haven't I heard more from her?" Her latest release "Gifts: Live from 54 Below" gives us some insight to this question.
First of all, there is no doubt about her musical ability. Noll appears equally at home in many different genres, from musical theater to the opera house to the cabaret club. The daughter of famed conductor Ron Noll and opera singer Sara-Ann Noll, Christiane was born into the performance world, and shows off some of what she learned with two medleys on her recording centered around her younger years of being carted from venue to venue by her parents. These medleys include an impressive performance of "The Museum Song" (from "Barnum") and a ballad arrangement of "Waiting For Life" (from "Once On This Island"). However, even though her voice navigates the material effortlessly, the songs come across as nostalgic, and not necessarily interesting.
Matter of fact, the 75-minute set primarily resembles a biopic, as it progresses from Noll's childhood to her initial experiences auditioning into her adult life as a wife and mother. With her own mother in the audience (her father having passed away in 2008), Noll expresses her sincere appreciation in making her Broadway debut in Frank Wildhorn's "Jekyll & Hyde," and subsequently delivers her big hit, "In His Eyes," from the 1997 musical.
Noll plays it safe on this recording. Given the wide range of music she is capable of handily performing, it would've be more entertaining to see her take some risks. However, this latest addition to the "54 Below" series continues to cast its net wider across the artists included, and for that, they are to be commended.
"Gifts: Live at 54 Below"
CD and digital formats
Broadway Records / 54 BELOW