One of the girls I coach is singing “Losing My Mind,” and it is so weird for me because she is singing the rhythms as they are written on the page and not like everybody else sings them. It’s kind of refreshing. But she’s also singing “A Little Bit in Love” and she didn’t know the plot of Wonderful Town, so.
Samuel Barber’s “Vanessa” was meant by both Barber and the MET to be a star-vehicle for Maria Callas, but Callas turned the role down after seeing the score, because she predicted that whoever sang the role of Erika, the younger niece, would steal the show.
It turns out that she was correct and Rosalind Elias, the mezzo who originated the role of Erika, became an overnight sensation.
One more fun fact: The most famous aria from Vanessa wasn’t even originally in the score. After receiving the score one day, Elias humbly pointed out to the conductor that she was the only character that didn’t have an aria. Dmitri Mitropolous then called up Sam Barber and asked him to write her an aria. Barber then wrote “Must the winter come so soon?”
A related fun Sondheim fact: Rosalind played the role of Heidi in the recent revival of Follies.