For me, a pivotal moment came when you performed in “Kismet” – and, more specifically, when you sang “Not Since Ninevah.”
Oh, my God. I can still hear the opening in my head.
“Baghdad! Don’t underestimate Baghdad,” you sang, those opening words of warning.
“Baghdad! You must investigate Baghdad! And learn a few of the facts you never knew before.”
You are luring the listener into the exotic, the song now a seduction.
“Our palaces are gaudier, our alley ways are bawdier,” you sang, emphasizing “gaudier,” then giving “bawdier” a gutsy, earthy growl. The song is a tour through a land of lust and sin and decadence, with you as the tour guide. How you pulled it off I’ll never know, Oh, but how you belted the ending.
“No, not since Ninevah,” you sang, soaring higher, “not since Ninevah-eh-eh!” and then “Ninevah,” going higher still, impossibly high, a cry of raw ecstasy.
You stopped the show. The audience listened, the room hushed, rapt at your rapture. Everyone burst into hearty applause. I whistled my appreciation as loud as my lips could manage.
In that moment, at least in my mind, and maybe in yours as well, you surfaced as a star.
Nothing and nobody would stop you now. You gave me a thrill I can never forget, the thrill of a lifetime (http://www.allmusicals.com/lyrics/kismet/notsincenineveh.htm).
Oh, I’m leaving out some songs here, of course, or else this account would just go on and on.
I’ve left out “Glitter and Be Gay” from “Candide,”
(http://www.allmusicals.com/lyrics/candide/glitterandbegay.htm) and also “Adelaide’s Lament” from “Guys And Dolls” (where, practicing at home, you again proved you could play a tough cookie with just a touch of bimbo). http://www.lyricsondemand.com/soundtracks/g/guysanddollslyrics/adelaideslamentlyrics.html
And now of course – who can ever keep up with you? – you’re onto opera, doing “Quando m’en vo” from “La Boheme,” practicing and practicing and practicing that aria until you get every note, including those last challenging few, just right (http://www.aria-database.com/translations/boheme3_quando.txt); and also “Spargi d’amaro piante” from “Lucia di Lammermoor” (http://www.beverlysillsonline.com/text/l_lucia_di_lammermoor04.htm).
And through it all, I see how you look as you sing, that expression on your face. It’s utter absorption. You’re living completely in the moment. You’re telling a story, telling it and selling it. You’re on the stage singing, making the songs your own. You’re going through a metamorphosis with each character you play, inhabiting those characters, climbing into the skin of Christine and Mimi and Pocahontas.
You’re proving every day, as you mature at a breathtaking pace, as your voice grows ever stronger and your sense of the lyrics ever deeper, that the stage is where you belong, that the stage is truly your home.
Sing, my angel, sing.
P.S. — A 2010 Daily News article about Caroline: