Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Michael Hayden, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II|
Carousel (1994 Broadway Revival Cast)
Genres: Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
Carousel may have been one of Rodgers & Hammerstein's least popular shows at the time, but it's now considered one of the duo's most compelling offerings, and there are plenty of good recordings to choose from. Nicholas Hy... more »
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Amazon.com essential recording
Carousel may have been one of Rodgers & Hammerstein's least popular shows at the time, but it's now considered one of the duo's most compelling offerings, and there are plenty of good recordings to choose from. Nicholas Hytner's much-praised production originated in London (with a cast album available on RCA/Victor) before successfully opening at Lincoln Center in New York. The CD's nicely illustrated booklet gives a fair idea of Bob Crowley's spectacular sets and costumes, which went a long way in helping Hytner reinvent the show (he got rid of "The Highest Judge of All," for instance). The American cast (only Michael Hayden's Billy Bigelow appeared in both cities) is as good as it gets, with special kudos going to Audra McDonald and her heavenly "Mister Snow." The original recording may have historical value, but this one's artistically and vocally top-notch. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Were we all listening to the same recordings?!!
Brandon Langeland | College | 02/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Carousel is my absolute favorite R&H recording and, as such, I own four recordings of it: The original cast, the MCA studio with Barbara Cook, the London revival, and this one. What I find extremely odd about the past reviews of this CD is that they recommend the London CD over this one, while this CD is in my opinion the best recording and the London one is the absolute worst. Michael Hayden does a much much MUCH better singing job here than in London, and Sally Murphy is a very touching Julie, as opposed to Joanna Riding's love-me-or-I'll-beat-you-up approach. Now enough with the comparisons. Shirley Verrett sings an unusually touching and tender "You'll never walk alone," and Audra McDonald and Eddie Korbich have a magical chemistry and wonderful vocal abilities, making this my favorite rendition of "When the Children are Asleep."But what I love most about this recording is that it is so energetic and heartfelt both in the singing and in the orchestra, that one can't help but feel the sheer humanity of the characters, their joy, pain, and heart, which is lacking in every other recording I've heard."
Broadway version of London revival loses the magic.
A. Andersen | Bellows Falls, VT USA | 08/21/1998
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the time it took Nicholas Hytner to transfer his London smash hit revival of CAROUSEL to Broadway it lost its freshness, its sensitivity and its magic. The cast is all new except for Michael Hayden's Billy who has played the role too long and become studied, belligerant rather than sensitive and groping, and harsh of singing tone. The production won five Tonys including Best Revival and one for Audra McDonald's Carrie but it doesn't match the London creation. What you get in that recording that you don't in this are: JUNE's dance music; the complete LOUISE'S BALLET; dialogue at end of Act I and the heaven transition, and Billy's dialogue in the finale. What you get in the Broadway recording you don't get in the London recording are: GIVE IT TO EM GOOD, CARRIE (only the second recording of this piece); women's chorus on STONECUTTERS, the SERMON. Stick with the London recording over this - it's far better. For the record, the CAROUSEL WALTZ is better conducted than the London recording - more spirited; Audra McDonald's Carrie in MR. SNOW is a heavier and louder voice than we're used to in this role, though she sings well. JULIE JORDAN is acceptable. IF I LOVED YOU is harsher than the London recording with Sally Murphy's Julie sounding terrified rather than awestruck. Shirley Verrett's is too operative a voice for Nettie - too big and her phrasing is way off. JUNE is acceptable chorus-wise but she is misplaced. MR.SNOW -reprise and WHEN THE CHILDREN ARE ASLEEP are good, due to Ms. McDonald and an enthusiastic performance fro Eddie Korbich as Snow. Fisher Stevens mimics the raspy voice of his predecessor in BLOW HIGH, which is fine. Hayden's SOLILOQUY is tougher and far less sensitive than his London recording and his acting has become mannered. The CLAMBAKE chorus is fine but the bridge is stiltily acted. GERANIUMS is well done by Korbich. STONECUTTERS is fine with women's chorus complete and Sally Murphy's WHAT'S THE USE OF WONDRIN is good. Verrett's YOU'LL NEVER WALK ALONE is bad. You only get the PAS DE DEUX from LOUISE'S BALLET here, not the whole thing - and it's lethargically conducted. Hayden's reprise of IF I LOVED YOU is good. The Finale is simply the chorus without Billy's poignant dialogue - a missed opportunity. All in all an acceptable but far from outstanding recording. Stick with the London orginal. For those CAROUSEL lovers, note that four of the ten recordings made thus far of the work have never made to CD: 1. Jan Clayton (the original Julie)'s disk of songs from the show for Buena Vista; the RCA opera studio cast recording -Robert Merrill, Patrice Munsel - and a nearly complete recording it is though in mono; Alfred Drake's studio cast recording for Command - an incomplete recording using the gimmick of recording onto 35 mm film soundtrack strips; and finally the original cast of the tv production for Hallmark (badly cut) with the "worst" Billy and Julie ever recorded - Robert Goulet and whoever she was. Just execrable in every way - this last deserves oblivion!"
An amazing, moving revelation
foxydana | 02/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw the 1994 revival of "Carousel" in New York six years ago this August. It was this recording (released a couple of months before my trip to New York) that made me buy tickets to the show. I had seen the 1956 film version and heard various recordings of the music, but none moved me like this one. The big difference is the moving, complex performance of Michael Hayden, captured here on disc. His "Soliloquy" and reprise of "If I Loved You" are especially heart-wrenching. Audra McDonald received much praise for her work as Carrie (and deservedly so), but it is Hayden's performance that I carried away with me. To this day, his is one of the best performances I have ever seen--it made me see the character of Billy and the entire show in a whole new light. The orchestrations by William David Brohn are wonderful. I particularly like what he did with "The Carousel Waltz": carnival-like and festive, but with a dark undertone. I am thankful to have this recording to help me remember a moving, revelatory theatre experience. Very highly recommended!"