BETWEEN ACTS: An Irreverent Look at Opera and Other Madness by Robert & Robert Saffron Merrill

BETWEEN ACTS: An Irreverent Look at Opera and Other Madness

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Bosom stories, excrement stories, Jewish mother stories, adultery, opera and name-dropping--in other words, a memoir best-seller bid from the never-say-Addio Metropolitan baritone. Charming it ain't, except for the self-deprecating edge that rescues the Brooklyn-burn-to-Radio-City-crooner-to-Escamillo metamorphosis from terminal deja vu. Vulgar it is, especially after the pre-stardom autobiography fades out and random anecdotitis sets in. Supremely unfunny practical jokes (portrait of the artist as a horse's ass) and easily deciphered gossip a clef raise a smarmy cloud that fortissimos of sentimentality (saintly Richard Tucker, self-annihilators Bjoerling and Lanza) can't dispel. The two Roberts try hard to please: a dozen of the incidents are converted into ""scenes""--with stage directions and dialogue--and every celebrity who so much as breathed near Merrill (including Winston Churchill, June Allyson, Hubert Humphrey, Golda Meir, Lou Costello, Jack Paar, Nelson Eddy, and the Queen Mother) joins the gag roster. Amend the subtitle. Irrelevant, not irreverent. But: some solid laughs for opera fans who don't really like music and some racy pictures--verbal and black-and-white--for People magazine lifetime subscribers.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1976
Publisher: McGraw-Hill