Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Leonard Bernstein, José Carreras, Kiri Te Kanawa|
West Side Story: Highlights (1985 Studio Recording)
Genres: Pop, Soundtracks, Classical, Broadway & Vocalists
The world becomes a better place as Leonard Bernstein conducts his first West Side Story with the abandon, genius, and intimate knowledge of every detail he, as composer, imagined. The crisp orchestra and slower tempos max... more »
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The world becomes a better place as Leonard Bernstein conducts his first West Side Story with the abandon, genius, and intimate knowledge of every detail he, as composer, imagined. The crisp orchestra and slower tempos maximize the colors of the orchestral landscape and create magic. This recording falls just one tenor's diction short of perfection. Te Kanawa's scrumptious soprano deliciously graces Maria's music, realizing the virtuosity often unattainable in theater singers' renditions. Troyanos combines a ferocious chestiness with classically trained savvy. The only weakness is Carreras's diction, which he so obviously works hard to Americanize, but falls distractingly short. Still, the overall recording is brilliant. --Barbara Eisner Bayer
What are you looking for....
Andre | Twin Cities, MN | 02/26/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This recording has been wonderfully recorded, and with a top-notch opera cast. It is conducted by the only man who probably could give the best interpretation to the score, the composer...Leonard Bernstein. Overall, this is definitely the best recording on Amazon that you can get, the most complete(except for the one with extra excerpts added if you're looking for more orchestral scores), and nicely performed. So why did i give it 4 stars? Well, I felt that some of the singers were too operatic for my tastes, and there was not enough sweetness in Maria's (Te Kanawa)voice as well as some of the other women. Don't get me wrong, I love opera, but I felt that it shouldn't have been as ominous as it was. I, unlike the editorial reviewer Bayer, believe that Carreras did a wonderful job, especially on his song "Maria." His tonal production I thought was perfect, not too operatic, and I didn't really hear the accent problems. Although, if one does really listen, they are there. Te Kanawa has a beautiful voice, and I actually tend to prefer some of her broadway hits as opposed to some of her opera arias, although she does well with both. I must say, the songs she sings by Gershwin are devine. Horne's beautiful alto/mezzo-soprano voice is wonderful to hear, but for this musical, I believe it is too heavy. I have to reiterate though, that overall this CD is very good, and has much star power for people to enjoy. I almost forgot to say that the gang scenes are great to hear, as well as the orchestral works on this recording. In summary, this recording is a good addition to a classical music lover's collection, but, it is up to the listener whether they like the operatic sound of this recording. I'd opt for it to be less so, but if you are looking for a good recording, and have no problem with or enjoy the way they sing this musical, then this will be a "must have" for you(for heaven's sake...it's a classic). I still enjoy this CD set, even though if I had the choice, I would like some of the female voices to be sweeter and less operatic."
Musical or opera?
Kevin McManus | Milan, MI Italy | 01/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Who can conduct West Side Story better than Leonard Bernstein? If your answer is not "nobody", there's something seriously wrong with you! Lenny is the only one who showed his masterpiece isn't just a sing-songing festival, but a marvellous piece of music. Most people consider this work a musical rather than an opera, mostly because there is dialogue instead of recitativo, ballades instead of arias and Broadway instead of Wiener Staatsoper. Actually, West Side looks a lot like a musical, but Maria's part is written for a soprano, and the B-flat in Tony's song "Maria" may sound really, really bad if sung by a non-tenor voice. That's why Bernstein, who knew the work better than anybody else, wanted people like Te Kanawa, Carreras, Troyanos and Horne. Under Lenny's baton and with glorious lyrical singing, West Side Story sounds very "unbroadwaylike", but that's the way it's gotta be."
Good but not flawless
J. Enders | Darmstadt | 02/10/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story" is probably more than a musical. It is an opera emplying American jazz, dance, and folk elements in the 20th century. The plot, derived from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", is complex, the rendering into the scenery of the New York West Side in the 1960s is witty and well done. The present recording, conducted by the composer himself, with an international renowned cast, a solid orchestra and very good recording skills of the DG engineers, is probably the best you can find. However, while the "supporting cast" is excellent (Ollmann, Troyanos, men's and women's groups), I am a bit disappointed by Jose Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa who seem to me the wrong people playing the wrong roles. Sure, they both have great voices, but neither Carreras gets the feeling of a West-Side juvenile gang boss nor does Te Kanawa the young Puerto Rican girl thing right. As the funniest part of all this, Bernstein's daughter and son speak the introduction to "One hand, one heart" (he with a New York accent, she with a Hispanic accent) until the singers take over and now - oops - Maria sings rather with a British voice whereas Tony exhibits the sound of a Hispanic opera tenor (with the according accent).In spite of these minor flaws, West Side Story is still good for the 21st century, and this is probably the best version available."