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Stephen Sondheim brands Lady Gaga at Oscars a 'travesty'

The composer was unimpressed by the pop star's Sound of Music medley

Stephen Sondheim in 2011
© Dan Wooller

Stephen Sondheim has branded Lady Gaga's performance of a medley from The Sound of Music at the Oscars a "travesty".

Speaking to The Times ahead of this month's two West End productions of Sweeney Todd (at the ENO and in a pop up pie shop on Shaftesbury Avenue), the veteran composer gave telling insights into his musical tastes.

Although he said his partner Jeff Romley, 36, would "crawl a mile" to see Gaga perform, Sondheim said he "does not share his taste for contemporary pop music".

He added: "On the Academy Awards she [Gaga] was a travesty. It was ridiculous, as it would be from any singer who treats that music in semi-operatic style. She had no relationship to what she was singing. What people liked was her versatility."

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1965 film, Lady Gaga performed a medley at last month's ceremony featuring "The Sound of Music," "My Favorite Things," "Edelweiss" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain."

Sondheim was more enthusiastic about Tooting Arts Club's revival of Sweeney Todd, which transfers to a 'pop-up pie shop' on Shaftesbury Avenue later this month.

"There were 32 people, a pie counter, four tables, a piano and cello," he said of his visit to the production. "When one actor started singing in front of the lady across from me, she screamed."

Watch Lady Gaga's Oscar performance...