FOR DIE-HARD 'CANDIDE' JUNKIES . . . LIKE ME . . . .
J. T Waldmann | Carmel, IN, home to the fabulous new Regional Perf | 05/24/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Since mine was the only negative amazon.com review of the 1974 Broadway Revival recording of CANDIDE, David Barbour's evaluation of the same recording ("The TheaterMania Guide to Musical Theater Recordings") was balm for my bruised ego. So, based on his very positive review - in the same publication - of this 1999 Royal National Theater recording, I tracked down a copy from an amazon.com seller and waited most patiently for it to arrive. CANDIDE is, after all, my favorite Broadway score, with six recordings in my library and plans to acquire the others in the near future.
Unfortunately, in spite of some excellent performances, this disc is a major disappointment. Barbour wrote that "Alex Kelly is the best Cunegonde since [Barbara] Cook, " and he may be right. (I haven't heard Marilyn Hill Smith [Scottish cast] or Erie Mills [New York City Opera], and the New York Philharmonic version (DVD) with Kristin Chenoweth hasn't arrived yet.) Barbour further writes "Beverly Klein is a lively old woman" and "Simon Russell Beale displays savoir faire and a fine voice as Voltaire/Pangloss." Agreed. But I differ strongly with his assessment that Daniel Evans is a "fine Candide." Frankly, I find his English-pop-style voice unappealing and totally inappropriate for the role.
Most disturbing, however, is the new version of Hugh Wheeler's book by John Ciard, the show's director. New locales and characters have been added, and songs have been shifted around, further muddling what is already a confusing plot. Furthermore, lyrics have been altered, ostensibly to fit the new situations. "Life Is Happiness Unending" shows up early in the show - and on no other recording. There's a totally new, uncredited version of "What's the Use," vastly inferior to the original. Nor do the orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin do anything except make one long for the originals by Mr. Bernstein & Hershy Kay -- even Kay's "watered down" orchestrations for the 1974 production. At least, the Governor sings "But now while he hovers, let us be lovers" to Cunegonde, and not to Maximilian in drag.
I've said before that one can't have too many recordings of this best of all Broadway musical scores, but I may have to eat my words. This one is strictly for those CANDIDE fanatics who must have every version. Hey, that's me!
PS. For everything you ever wanted to know about every production, recording & revision of CANDIDE, go to www.sondheimguide.com for a marvelous guide compiled by Michael H. Hutchins."
A Wonderful Redording
RonsVoice | Hayward, CA | 12/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have the Original Broadway Recording of Candide with Barbara Cook, and I love it, but I needed to get the 1999 Royal National Theatre Cast recording as well. You see I am a singer/actor and I am going to be performing in a community theatre production of Candide and this version is the one that is closest to the score that we are going to use in the show.
To be honest after I read the other review of this recording I almost did not get it, but I am glad that I did. Yes there are some added songs and the order is changed around a bit from the original but the performances are first rate.
This is a wonderful recording and I would definitely recommend it. I think that anyone who loves musical theatre as a genre will enjoy this recording of Candide. I am very glad that I have this recording as a part of my musical theatre library."
Superb version of "Candide."
W. Gantt | Birmingham, Alabama United States | 07/05/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are occasions when "Candide" seems a bit long in the tooth. This version moves at a brisk and enjoyable pace, prompting a desire to see the show again. "Candide" with book and music by America's greatest talents of the Golden Age justifiably receives new incarnations every few years. Surely this production must have been one of the best!"
The Best of All Possible Candides!
Brian in Seattle | 07/10/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I need to start this review with a statement of bias. Not only is Candide the first Broadway musical I saw as a child, it's also my favorite. As a musical, Candide has had an interesting development path and had produced a number of versions and recordings. Having just seen this version at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, I was on a quest to find this recording. The information about this recoding on Amazon's site is jumbled between the original 1956 production and the 1999 Royal National Theatre Production. It's difficult to know exactly which one you are ordering. I was really happy when the right version arrived, after 3 weeks, from a shop in London.
This recording is fantastic and I would venture to say that it is now my favorite version of the story, which most closely resembles Voltaire's story. The performers are able to faithfully present the characterizations without sacrificing the musical skill necessary to sing the material. The performances all sound fresh and you get a good sense of the story by listening to these fine and complete performances. Glitter and Be Gay is really a standout and the best recorded version of the piece. I was going to say it is bright and fresh, but it really is "Bright and Cheerful!"
If you are only going to own a single version of this work I would purchase this one, but try them all! Each offers a compelling experience and it's interesting to hear how the work has developed over the years."