Who Sang It Better…Burn from Hamilton
The next in the series of ‘Who Sang It Better’ is none other than the iconic song ‘Burn’ from the hit musical Hamilton. Burn comes in Act 2 when Hamilton admits to an affair in a public pamphlet in order to save his career. The song is sung by his wife, Eliza.
First up is Philipa Soo who was the original Eliza on Broadway. What I love most about this version is the hurt in her voice, especially just when she sings ‘How they perceive you,’ just before her resolve becomes clear. She also builds the song beautifully and it turns from hurt to anger when she sings ‘The World has no right to my heart.”
Rachelle Ann Go was the West End’s original Eliza. I have a soft spot for Rachelle as she is the Eliza I have seen in the role. Similar to Soo is the utter anguish you can hear in her voice. Her ‘you’ at 2:17 literally sounds like she is about to begin sobbing and her gasp at the end of it simply enhances this.
Next up is Lea Salonga singing Burn at her concert in Sydney Opera House. I find this such a classy version of Burn although for me it doesn’t quite have the same emotion power as Phillipa Soo. I do adore how she moves through the phrases at around 3 minutes and how she sings ‘Burn,’
Here is a slightly different version, Carrie Hope Fletcher covering Burn on her YouTube channel. She got some flack for even daring to cover this song as she isn’t a woman of colour however she herself said she isn’t right for the role for this ever reason although Lin-Manuel Miranda has often said that the parts shouldn’t be restricted by colour. I’m personally very glad to see her cover it. Her version is different to both Soo’s and Salonga’s as nearer the end, at around 3 minutes she has a much more sustained belt section before dropping back to a more sensitive tone for literally the last few bars. Personally I prefer the slightly more restrained version but I also adore the fact that Carrie has put her own mark on this song.
My favourite version is Rachelle Ann Go’s but I have to say all of these women are total Queens with stunning voices. Who sings your favourite version of Burn?
To finish and just for fun here is the music video of ‘First Burn’ featuring Ari Afsar, Julia Harriman, Lexi Lawson, Rachelle Ann Go, and Shoba Narayan, who have played Eliza on Broadway, the West End, Chicago and 2 national tours. I adore this version of Burn and quite possibly my favourite Hamildrop.