JULIA CHILD: Mezzo-soprano
A comic culinary extravaganza that taps the wit and antics of one of America's best-loved television personalities.
Bon Appétit! was comprised of two icons of the television age: music draped over the words and gestures of Julia Child, the mother-of-all-foodies, in her black-and-white days; written for Jean Stapleton, famed original-cast, Broadway-musical comedienne, in her late career. The juxtaposition clicked for a few seasons, as a curtain-raiser for the more substantial Italian Lesson. The work lives on by virtue of flamboyant mezzos, piano-accompanied at gala occasions where great quantities of chocolate are consumed.
Two episodes of the second WGBH-TV season were conflated: the race between the whisk and the electric beater comes out of a different cake. Props have been used, or not. Hoiby's music deftly veers around Broadway chansons, early television, and Ravelian apotheosis to underline Julia Child's compelling domestic uplift.
— Mark Shulgasser, librettist