Callaway plans personal look at Streisand music

2012-11-29T00:00:00Z Callaway plans personal look at Streisand musicCathalena E. Burch Cburch@azstarnet.com Arizona Daily Star
November 29, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Ann Hampton Callaway may get a bit teary-eyed when she performs with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra this weekend.

It will likely happen during "I've Dreamed of You," the wedding song she wrote for Barbra Streisand that the legendary singer sang to James Brolin the day they married in 1998.

"To be able to write a song that celebrates such a momentous experience of someone who inspires me so much, it is one of the biggest thrills," Callaway said in a recent phone interview from her New York City home.

Callaway is a multiplatinum-selling singer, composer, actress and lyricist who is best known for writing and singing "The Nanny" theme song. She also has had three of her songs recorded by Streisand, but this one was her crowning glory. Streisand has recorded it on a couple albums that combined have sold millions of copies worldwide, Callaway said.

But more importantly, it opened the door for Callaway to get close to a woman who has inspired her throughout her 30-plus-year career.

"As pop singers go, she is the most important influence in my life," said Callaway, 54, who remembers spending her childhood allowance on Streisand's albums. "She's the first artist that I felt like whatever she was singing it was happening to her. She taught me about acting a song. There was something so mesmerizing not only about her voice, but her ability to convey a moment in time, where she was able to sweep me up in the moment as a kid and make me experience whatever was going on in the song as if it was happening to me, too."

Callaway brought that emotion to bear when she wrote the wedding song. Streisand had asked her to write "simple but profound" lyrics to Rolf Lovland's melody, she recalled.

"I realized she was getting married, so I decided to write a wedding song," said Callaway, who worked closely with Streisand on rewrites.

Callaway finished the song three days before the couple exchanged vows. Streisand recorded it the next year on "A Love Like Ours," an album that unapologetically celebrated the pair's relationship. It included a photo album booklet of the couple.

Her experiences with Streisand inspired Callaway's "The Streisand Songbook" symphony show, which she has performed with a number of orchestras in recent years.

"I feel like I've been privileged to have a more personal glimpse at an artist than most people have had and I wanted to share that with my audiences since so many people like me love Barbra Streisand," she said.

Expect to hear her hit Streisand's career highlights, including "People" and "Starting Here, Starting Now," arranged as more of a jazz waltz by the very orchestrators who have worked with Streisand. She also will sing the wedding song and her self-penned "At the Same Time," the peace anthem that Streisand included on her 1997 "Higher Ground" album that went on to sell 11 million copies.

Callaway said the setlist reflects songs that she feels paint a portrait of Streisand.

"When I do 'A Piece of Sky' ... not only am I doing a song from 'Yentl,' when I am singing that song - I am painting a portrait of what I think the inner journey of being Barbra Streisand has been throughout her life," Callaway said. "I always think music is the bridge between heaven and Earth. There is a lot of layers of emotions that people will experience in this show."

But don't expect to hear anything from Streisand's perm and disco era.

"I wasn't as gobsmacked by her disco period and some of the more rock 'n' roll. I particularly like her standards," joked Callaway, who is making her first appearance with the TSO in more than a decade.

If you go

• What: Tucson Symphony Orchestra and Ann Hampton Callaway: "The Streisand Songbook."

• Featuring: Guest conductor Robert Bernhardt.

• When: 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

• Where: Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave.

• Tickets: $26-$69 through tucsonsymphony.org or by calling 882-8585.

• Meet and greet: Callaway will greet fans in the lobby after both concerts and sign CDs. She will be at Maynards Market & Kitchen, 400 N. Toole Ave., after Saturday's concert for the inaugural "TSO's Artist After Hours Series" reception. The cost is $50 per person through the TSO box office.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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