Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Anastasia: The Musical (plus premier recordings of Wright and Forrest songs from At The Grand/Betting On Bertie/Grand Hotel/Kean
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
J. T Waldmann | 01/12/2000
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Is it just me or is Anastasia supposed to be a little younger? Every single person on this recording sounds like an elderly person. And there is no orchestra. It's all piano. It's all operatic. No stand-out songs. No power voices. Very disappointed."
Instead of this, pray for a reissue of ANYA
J. T Waldmann | Carmel, IN, home to the fabulous new Regional Perf | 07/25/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Reviewer's note: ANASTASIA: THE MUSICAL is a reissue by Original Cast Records of THE ANASTASIA AFFAIRE: THE RACHMANINOFF MUSICAL issued in 1992 by Bay Cities. It bears little resemblance to the original musical, ANYA.
"The musical ANYA opened on November 29, 1965 as the last tenant of the Ziegfeld Theater. Written by George Abbot from Guy Bolton's English version of Marcelle Maurette's play the score was fashioned by Robert Wright and George Forrest, using themes from the works of Rachmaninoff. Abbott directed and Hanya Holm choreographed a cast that included Constance Towers, Michael Kermoyan, Irra Petina, and Lillian Gish in the leading roles. With mixed-to-negative reviews, the show closed December 11, 1965 after two weeks of previews and sixteen performances. United Artists, an investor in the show, issued the cast album of ANYA shortly after the opening." -- from Merrick S. Talcove's liner notes for THE ANASTASIA AFFAIRE
I own a copy of ANYA, but I haven't listened to it since (perhaps) 1965. However, I remember it fondly, and while listening to it I fell in love with Constance Towers. Not as good as Wright & Forrest's scores for THE SONG OF NORWAY (which I had heard on the radio), KISMET and THE GREAT WALTZ (both of which I had seen staged by the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera), but listenable non-the-less. And KEAN is one of my all-time favorites. I truly believed that Wright & Forrest could do no wrong.
So when I read the Amazon reviews for ANASTASIA: THE MUSICAL, I thought, "These guys don't know what they're talking about." So I did some web research and located a used copy of THE ANASTASIA AFFAIRE. I put it in the player, but what emerged from the speakers had little resemblance to the ANYA I remembered. This was truly bad!
Wright & Forrest have been tinkering with ANYA every since it flopped in 1965. What was once a large scale Broadway musical is now an intimate chamber piece. It might possibly work as a chamber opera, if the libretto weren't so awful! Some of the lyrics have to be heard to be believed. The show also calls out for an orchestra. Reducing Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto to a piece for twin pianos is comparable to watching "Lawrence of Arabia" on a two-inch black and white TV. Rachmaninoff wrote Romantic music with a capital "R." An orchestra can underscore the passion of the characters and carry us along in a way two pianos can not.
I think all the fiddling to ANYA has damaged it beyond repair. Only four of the original songs remain: "A Song from Somewhere," "Here Tonight, Tomorrow Where?" "Little Hands," and "If This Is Goodbye." I believe Decca owns the United Artists masters, including ILLYA, DARLING, the musical version of NEVER ON SUNDAY. I urge them to reissue ANYA so we can hear once again the original score. Otherwise, I may have to dig out my LP and hook up my turntable.
P.S. Even though it's bad, it's not as awful as NIGHT OF THE HUNTER or Z . . . THE MASKED MUSICAL, and I was unable to finish JEKYLL & HYDE.