Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
West Side Story (1997 Studio Cast) (First Complete Recording)
Genres: Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
In the well-known recording which Leonard Bernstein himself made in his final decade, one intention was to more fully reveal the "operatic" dimension of West Side Story through big-name opera singers, as well as the sympho... more »
In the well-known recording which Leonard Bernstein himself made in his final decade, one intention was to more fully reveal the "operatic" dimension of West Side Story through big-name opera singers, as well as the symphonic complexity of its beloved score. With this JAY recording--part of the label's Original Masterworks Editions series--you get a similarly completist view of the work, but with a youthful, more "Broadway"-sounding cast that sounds plausibly--and movingly--close to the age of the actual characters. There's of course a good deal more musical material, along with underscored dialog, than what's presented on the OBC recording (let alone the film soundtrack). This West Side Story even includes some music not found on the Bernstein recording: the "Overture" and the alternative motion-picture versions of four songs. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios following 1992's Leicester Haymarket Theatre revival (a successful venture markedly contrasting with the disastrous, passionless 30th-anniversary New York revival). The fine surround-sound captures a detailed performance percolating not just with the necessary energy but with lots of orchestral detail and color as well. Some of the British accents inevitably begin to emerge (mostly in moments of chorus), while the New York accents can seem a bit overdone; but these are minor quibbles over an otherwise stirring vision of West Side Story. Even with his smallish voice, Paul Manuel is an involving Tony thanks to his vocal acting, and he mixes magically with Tinuke Olafimihan's touching Maria. It's easy to visualize the ballet in the chorus's deft vocalizing, and Caroline O'Connor's over-the-top Anita is memorably feisty. Do note that this set unfortunately does not include the libretto or lyrics. --Thomas May
Finally! The quintessential WSS recording.
Ramon Grupe Cacho | Makati, Metro Manila, The Philippines | 02/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know what took me so long to order this terrific recording. This is the best recording of West Side Story to date. The casting is perfect, unlike Jose Carreras's and Kiri Tekanawa's version. I also enjoyed the bonus tracks, which are ideal versions for a Broadway anthology compilation. Grab this while you still can, you won't regr this great experience of one of the best-loved musicals of all time."
Brandon Langeland | Fort Wayne, IN USA | 09/06/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a huge West Side Story fan and I just love this recording. This is definitely the one to buy, because even if you like some of the movie versions of the songs, hey, they're right here too! I don't know what they're talking about when they say Paul Manuel has a "smallish" voice. He blew me away throughout this whole recording, especially that inconceivable high note during "Maria." Anyone who's heard this recording knows what I'm talking about. Caroline O'Conner was great, the orchestra was great, the cast in general was great. I only have one minor quibble and that is, while Tinuke Olafimihan is a fantastic singer, she does sound a little ridiculous in some of the acting scenes, particularly at the beginning of the "Somewhere" ballet. But other than that, this is darn near perfect and should be the only recording anyone ever really needs of this incredible play."
Mr. Plow | Springfield, US | 05/09/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This record is perfect beyond compare, which justifies its price.
Caroline O'Connor as Anita is wonderful ("a voice like a Porsche", as sb said).
If you have survived the London cast, you will happily recognize the caracters in this recording.However, I do not share the opinion that
Riff's 'COOL' be lacking of vocal style
and Maria be even "ridiculous" in 'SOMEWHERE'.The symphonic dances have their own unique style
different from the Bernstein recording with Los Angeles Philharmonic."