Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Stephen Sondheim, Donna Murphy, Marin Mazzie|
Passion (1994 Original Broadway Cast)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
Based on the Italian movie Passione d'amore, Stephen Sondheim's Passion is a story of obsessive love. Giorgio (Jere Shea), a soldier, and Clara (Marin Mazzie), a woman with a husband and child, are deeply in love, but thei... more »
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Based on the Italian movie Passione d'amore, Stephen Sondheim's Passion is a story of obsessive love. Giorgio (Jere Shea), a soldier, and Clara (Marin Mazzie), a woman with a husband and child, are deeply in love, but their idyllic happiness is disrupted when Giorgio is transferred to another post. Here, he meets Signora Fosca (Donna Murphy), a homely and ill woman who is the cousin of the regiment's commanding officer. Fosca soon falls in love with Giorgio and pursues him relentlessly, saying "Loving you is not a choice / It's who I am." He is repulsed and resists her advances, but eventually, he succumbs to the power of her love. Rather than a succession of individual songs strung together by dialogue, Sondheim's score is a constant flow of gorgeous music. (The original theater program listed no individual songs.) The plot is conveyed by song, some dialogue, letters between the characters, and a group of soldiers that serves as a Greek chorus. The result is more of a chamber opera than a conventional musical. Passion won Tonys for Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Book of 1994, and Murphy also won a Tony for her powerful performance as Fosca. Mazzie is in glorious voice as Clara, and Shea brings a pretty voice and a wooden personality to Giorgio. --David Horiuchi
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LOVE BEYOND ENDURANCE
Charles Slovenski | Geneva Switzerland | 05/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The theatre of Stephen Sondheim can be, to the ready soul, a almost religious experience, and that's no exaggeration. I'm an average guy with a job, an apartment, some friends and some hobbies; I like swimming, biking and running and got a life, albeit a quiet, uneventful one. I've had my trials by fire in the neighborhood of my heart more than once and I've been as confused about it as a dumb pup with a stinging slapped nose. But when I see or listen to a Sondheim musical, and especially PASSION, what goes on between my two ears and in my heart becomes special, precious and abiding. He gives shape and understanding to the conflicting feelings of love and passion in all their caprices and disappointments, and he pulls no punches in the disappointment and brokenheart department. I saw the New York production of PASSION and was deeply moved by the music. Fosca, nearly deranged with obsession, alientated the audience from believing in her love. Then I went to the London production and, buddy, it flew! It's about LOVE, unconditional, unrelenting love, crystal clear and bitter when unfulfilled. There wasn't a dry eye in the house during the last 20 minutes. I sat there thinking my heart would fly out of my chest with feeling. There ain't many of 'em that can work that kind of magic in the theatre these days, let me tell you.Almost every song on this album aches. Even the first conversational duet HAPPINESS causes pain in the heart. Clara and Georgio are obviously in love with love ("how quickly pity leads to love") as they go over their chance meeting and pick-up in the park. I WISH I COULD FORGET YOU is shocking with the agony of sustained, unfulfilled love ("how could I ever wish you away?" she asks hopelessly) which leads to the perfect conclusion echoed throughout the entire musical that "should you die tomorrow, your love will live in me." Fosca dies, not of the illness described in the plot, but of love. Although this reeks of grand opera, Sondheim brings it down to such a delicate heartbeat of feeling that it seems as natural as breathing. Georgio learns to accept love and its disappointments the way we all do, by heartache and pain. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. This album should be given only by perscription. It's effect is so overwhelming that you need a doctor's supervision to get through it."
A beautiful recording, finally back in print.
Wayne Rossi | Mount Holly, NJ United States | 01/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Passion is one of Sondheim's unrecognized gems. Many deride it for its lack of feeling, but how can you really hold anything against this classic piece of theatricality? The Passion OBC soars to the heavens with the voices of Marin Mazzie and Donna Murphy as the opposed Clara and Fosca, with Jere Shea solid as the soldier Giorgio. As Giorgio slowly loses interest in his neat affair with Clara and becomes fascinated by the haunted, tormented, chronically ill Fosca, we see this tale of dark obsession grow along with its lush score. Mazzie's voice has every light and airy quality, and Murphy goes through the raw, dark life of Fosca with style.Passion contains a good deal of dialogue, and the story flows fairly well if you're reading your synopsis. Some of the spoken material that isn't on the recording is available in the written script, and I'd recommend it if you want to know more about this fascinating tale. It's not to everybody's taste, but Passion will shine for those waiting for just such a recording. At twelve bucks, I think it's a worthwhile gamble for any musical lover looking to expand a bit."
One of Sondheim's greatest scores
Bruce Hodges | New York, NY | 06/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Using a glittering language that owes a debt to Ravel, Stephen Sondheim has created one of his most ravishing scores, that in actual performance seems more like a tone poem rather than a conventional musical. In a single arc, the music flows seemingly straight through from beginning to end, with small motifs appearing, combining in intricate patterns and then receding. The sensuous result is some of the composer's best work.
The story here is an odd one, that some listeners may find a bit puzzling: a sickly woman (Fosca) falls in love with a much-healthier soldier, who eventually leaves his (also much-healthier) girlfriend for the sicklier one. Not the most believable scenario -- on paper, that is -- until the great Sondheim illuminates the touching emotions lurking just below the surface.
As Fosca, Donna Murphy (who won a Tony Award for her portrayal) makes a strange character come to vivid life, and sings the aching songs with a luster that drills them into the memory. A highlight is the searing "I Wish I Could Forget You," in which she dictates an imaginary letter to Giorgio, played by the wonderful Jere Shea. The incandescent Marin Mazzie plays Shea's girlfriend Clara, and is also in beautiful voice in her many "letter scenes," as well as those in which she combines her liquid voice with others. The score is chock full of Sondheim's soaring melodic lines and his usual heart-rending lyrics.
The recording quality is excellent -- quite natural, with realistic balances between the orchestra and the singers evoking an actual stage production. If I recall, the original Broadway orchestra was augmented with extra musicians for the recording, resulting in an even more sumptuous sound -- an excellent decision. Highly recommended."