Prologue: The Carousel Waltz - Original Cast Recording, Rodgers, Richard
You're a Queer One, Julie Jordan
If I Loved You (Introduction)
If I Loved You
Give It to 'Em Good, Carrie... - Original Cast Recording, Rodgers, Richard
June Is Bustin' Out All Over
Mister Snow (Reprise)
When Children Are Asleep - Original Cast Recording, Rodgers, Richard
Blow High, Blow Low
A Real Nice Clambake
Geraniums in the Winder
Stonecutters Cut It on Stone
What's the Use of Wond'rin'
You'll Never Walk Alone
Pas de Deux [Ballet] - Original Cast Recording, Rodgers, Richard
If I Loved You (Reprise)
You'll Never Walk Alone (Reprise)
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 »tner'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« less
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
"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!"
A Master Production of a Masterpiece
Grant Hugh Alexander | The Deep South, USA | 12/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"CAROUSEL is the only R&H musical that I completely embrace, along with OKLAHOMA, but I consider CAROUSEL to be a stronger show, not just musically, but in its narritive and character development as well. That said, I love listening to this recording! Audra McDonald's Carrie is a revelation, and her rendition of "Mr. Snow" is one of the highlights of the show, along with "Carousel Waltz," "What's the Use of Wondrin'?", "When the Children Are Asleep," and of course the full version of "If I Loved You." I agree with other reviewers that Michael Hayden isn't an amazing, astonishing singer (as others who have played the role have been), but his performance is wonderful in that he puts the needs of the character first. As an actor who sings rather than a singer who acts, I consider singing to be slightly ("slightly" being the key word)secondary to acting in musical theatre, that's one of the things that separates it from opera. Shirley Verrett's Nettie is vocally top nothch, with a very warm voice, although,her "You'll Never Walk Alone" is not as emotional as I would like, but her voice is nonetheless beautiful. Sally Murphy's Julie is very good and has a wonderful silvery soprano,her rendition of "What's the Use of Wondrin'?" nearly bringing one to tears. Her voice is wonderful in all of her songs, but her dialogue in "If I Loved You" is a little too cute at times, but she is wonderful nevertheless. Ms. Murphy is fascinated by Billy, but it is of a more timid fascination, so, you never doubt her innocence and naivitee. Ms. Murphy is also much better vocally than Ms. Joanna Riding on the London recording. Eddie Korbich makes for a quirky and comical Mr. Enoch Snow, end even though he sings out of his nose, you can't help but love his character, and he and Audra McDonald have wonderful chemistry on this recording. Bob Crowley's sets are a revelation and the costumes are suitably simple with an emphasis on color (Billy is in red for the run of the show, I believe, an obvious symbol for his passionate nature and firery temper). Buy this recording for Audra McDonald's Carrie, Sally Murphy's silver-voiced Julie, Michael Hayden's performance (not just his singing) and for the beautiful orchestrations, and of course for the wonderful Rogers and Hammerstein score."
An American Masterpiece, Great Recording
Tom George | Wash. DC | 07/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A bit better than the 93 London cast recording! Rodgers and Hammerstein were so superior to any composers of the 40' and 50' (with the exception of Lerner and Lowe perhaps), they should be in their own category of music. Carousel holds up as one of the 4 or 5 greatest American musicals, and this revival clearly proved that (ironically produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company). This recording is magnificent in that it captures almost the entire score, including the ballet. Gritty, earthy and passionate, the two leads may not be the greatest of stage singers, but you can feel every ounce of yearning, sorrow and heartbreak in their voices. If I Loved You has never been recorded with such wrenching emotion before. And Michael Hayden's performance of Soliloquay is riveting. Hayden has since gone on to prove that he is one of the most talented actors currently working on the American stage. I don't think I need to expound on the talents af Audra MacDonald, just listen to one verse of anything she sings and you will know. Astonishing! The Carousel Waltz is my alltime favorite piece of music and what a joy to have such an outstanding recording of it in it's entirety. The memory of Carousel's opening to The Carousel Waltz will remain with me forever. Brilliant! "