The perfect version of West Side Story
PhantomOfTheOpera | Norway | 08/08/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this album after having being introduced to it through the dvd - the making of West Side Story. Both the cd and the dvd are wonderful and I recommend that you buy them both.
I think it's a real treat to hear the songs performed by classically trained singers and not - like Bernstein himself says on the dvd - performed by dancers who also can sing somewhat. In my opinion the songs benefit greatly from being sung by artists like José Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa. What I don't like about this recording is Bernsteins decision about not letting the singers perform the spoken dialogue as well as the singing. And why, oh why did Bernstein have to choose his own children for the task? To me they sound uninvolved in the play and I guess it must be hard to get into the right lovestruck mood when acting against your sibling! But they're the only problem with this recording and a minor one that is.
The whole cast is doing an excellent job on this recording. José Carreras is an exceptionally good Tony. His "Maria" is out of this world. And the duet "one hand, one heart" with Kiri Te Kanawa is heart-wrenching. "Tonight" is also outstanding. Something that never ceases to amaze me about him is his ability to make his voice express exactly what he's singing about. In the song "something's coming" he's singing ...."around the corner or whistling down the river".... You get the feeling that something's really whistling down the river. Listen and you'll understand what I'm talking about.
Kiri Te Kanawa is better here than in many of her other recordings. Sometimes she sounds very, very posh when singing, but it's hard to beat her in the duets "a boy like that" and "I have a love", performed with Tatiya Troyanos.
The song "America" makes you wanna get up and dance. And so does "Gee, officer Krupke". The songs have an energy and a freshness about them that makes you unable to sit still. In addition they're quite funny and you just have to laugh.
However, in the end Tony gets shot, leaving you devastated when he dies. I always get this strange "void" inside after hearing the final song where Tony suddenly stops singing and you realize that he's actually dead.
Due to the fact that Leonard Bernstein is conducting the play himself one must assume that this is the recording he would choose, since he most probably made the whole cast perform just the way he intended them to when he wrote this music. And what's good enough for Leonard Bernstein certainly works for me!"
Emotional Performances with the Lenny Touch
Myrna A. Diaz | Pico Rivera, CA United States | 02/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Much has been written about this CD/album. Many have criticized Bernstein's choices for some of the roles, however, with the exception of Tatiana Troyanos (absolutely horrible voice), the recording is laden with emotion-packed renditions of what has to be Bernstein's work of genius. I really do not care what critics said about José Carreras in the role of Tony (his accent, etc.). Never have I ever heard a more beautiful renditon of ¨Maria.¨ His lovely, magnificent voice gives such an intensity and sensitivity to this most magnificent piece. Additionally, his ¨One Hand, One Heart¨ duet with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa is so absolutely beautiful it just destroys my heart.I also own the video, ¨Leonard Bernstein Conducts West Side Story¨ and it is so interesting to see the making of this gem. Such an inspiration to the soul!! Leonard Bernstein will always be one of our country's most amazing treasures!! God Bless him forever!!!!"
D. Pawl | Seattle | 08/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD brings back so many memories. I actually first heard this album on vinyl on my mother's old turntable. I can honestly say it was this particular production that made me fall in love with Jose Carreras. My God, the man is incomparable. In fact, this whole production is magnificent. You can really feel Leonard Bernstein's powerful and spirited conducting comingi through in the performances. Though, some find fault with the casting choices (Spanish-born Jose Carreras as the Polish-American Tony, and New Zealand-born Kiri Takanawa as Puerto Rican Maria), I think that the romantic leads do a wonderful job. The most well-loved songs are featured here ("Maria," "Something's Coming," "Somewhere," etc) and it's great that they released this on CD. I highly reccomend it."