Marc Blitzstein: Stay In My Arms

Written by Alex Mansoori


In category: Song of the Day

Published November 11, 2019

To start the week off, I’ve chosen a song by Marc Blitzstein, one of the two composers featured on our NYFOS concert next week. Blitzstein garnered national attention in 1937 when his pro-union musical The Cradle will Rock was shut down by the Works Progress Administration. His other works include the Opera Regina, the musical Juno, and his translations of several works by Brecht and Weill, including The Threepenny Opera

I first heard Blitzstein’s music when I came upon the album Zipperfly & Other Songs featuring William Sharp, Karen Holvik, and NYFOS Artistic Director Steven Blier. I completely devoured the album and it instantly became a mainstay on my iPod. I was drawn to his harmonies and the way he would set a lyric. One of my favorites is “Stay in My Arms”, a song I later had the opportunity to sing with Steve at the piano. As we worked on it, he explained that, although it sounds like an incredible love song, it’s actually laced with an incredibly sad back story. Although Blitzstein was gay, he married novelist Eva Goldbleck who suffered from anorexia which would later take her life. The lyrics (which are his own) are actually a plea for her to get better, to stay with him.

Here is that recording that I first heard.

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Called “outstanding” and “hilarious” by critics, tenor Alex Mansoori has been hailed as “solid and convincing” and “smartly characterized” by The New York Times. Specializing in character tenor roles, Mr. Mansoori’s varied repertoire runs the gamut from Handel and Mozart to Bernstein and Sondheim. Some of his credits include appearances with Seattle Opera, Opera Colorado, Chicago Opera Theatre, Glimmerglass Opera, Ravinia Festival and the Tanglewood Festival. He has had a long relationship with New York Festival of Song, appearing with them since his Juilliard days, and will return in its Blitzstein / Weill double bill on November 19.


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