Heavenly 'Figaro'; classy Judy; comic Cleo; dangerous 'Fool'
Gems from Judy Judy Collins has been bringing us ''bread and roses'' for 20 years - whole-grained songs of personal and political substance, and a flower-bright soprano.
At her concert last weekend at Symphony Hall, we got all that and diamonds, too - an elegant new Judy swathed in black velvet who is as comfortable with Gershwin and show tunes as with her early folk hits.
''Both Sides Now'' and ''Someday Soon'' were speeded up and reinterpreted. ''Shoot First,'' a new one about TV's influence in spreading violence, showed that she has lost none of her activism nor her flair for drama. And ''Memory'' (from ''Cats'') gave her a chance to soar.
She's always had one of the calmest voices in pop, with a rich sustained tone and a solid vibrato. Aside from a few thin top notes, her voice has strengthened and her phrasing has become even more artful.
Aided by the amazing Shelton Becton, who sang backup, played piano, and directed the band, Collins brought the heart of the '60s to the class of the '80 s.