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Posted October 1, 2010
NOT the Sondheim I was expecting.
OK - Angela Lansbury, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Sondheim, a highly anticipated "NIGHT MUSIC." Should be an absolute gem, right? I was so disappointed. Not in the lead characters, they were adequate. But WHY do these new revivals, especially the grand ones, reduce the orchestra to 8 or 9, maybe a dozen players (this is a practice that also ruined the revivals of "Company" and "Sweeney Todd" for me). I know - COST. But, this recording suffers from it. How I long for a recording of the Lincoln Center revival from the 90's that was broadcast on PBS. Now THAT was what Sondheim should sound like. And don't tell me the backers of this musical couldn't afford a full orchestra - it's SONDHEIM! That being said I would love to SEE the show live. I have a feeling some of the sparseness of the scoring would be absorbed by the lushness of the visuals. This was NOT the Sondheim I was expecting.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
I was generous giving this an average of 3 stars solely based on Ms Lansbury and the fellow who plays 'Hendrik' and some of the supporting cast. Ms Zeta Jones brought, unfortunately, the curve way down.
I awaited the release of this cd as I have the original with G. John and H. Gingold and wanted to hear it with the better sound and finer effects that time and' technology has brought us. I never dared to buy the film soundtrack. I donit think I could have borne it. Don't mean to sound like a snob, but paying full price for a mostly dubbed soundtrack? Nope. So, I wait, happily until April for the CD, and, fortunately, it was released the day I had to schlep to the airport to pick some people up which gave me ample time to listen to it. I should have waited until I could have at least checked it out on iTunes, first. I was not prepared for how bad Zeta Jones, was. I knew she had a stronger and broader voice than John's...but had hope. I was let down. She couldn't sing it. She sang the soundtrack of 'Chicago' so well and was made for that role, as far as a Hollywood based actor could be. (do not want to get into the Broadway vs Hollywood choices that brought many arguments into my relationships...especially the Madonna in 'Evita' chord that I could not bear to think about although SHE did better than I had anticipated). Cannot say the same for Zeta Jones. When she sang the tear jerking (once one understands the song, which took me some time), 'Send in the Clowns'...it was just void of emotion. I usually, too, base my opinions on the lyrics and thusly on how the lyrics are dealt with. Zeta Jones, it seemed to me, did not understand what she was singing about. John's did it without the power that Zeta Jones, did....and it was more powerful in its raw, emotional revelation that the song is, brings. I also loved the young 'Hendrik' and his version of 'Later', one of my favorite Sondheim songs....both lyrically and musically. The male leads did their jobs well enough and Leigh Ann Larkin, a belter who was a great 'Baby June'...could have softened it up a bit, but the song itself is so sweet, I overlooked it and ended up enjoying it. Of course, Lansbury.....as always, is great. At 84 years old, she is still putting them out there. She does not have the quirkiness of Hermoine Gingold, but who does? Her songs, her vocals, her recitation, if that is what it is called, was great. 'Liaisons'...a great song sung from a disillusioned person who simply wants to live in her memories of happier times. Lansbury does this with ease. I see a 6th Tony for her this year. Zeta Jones, unfortunately, again is the problem. She is throughout the soundtrack but either does not get it, the lyrics, story...etc...or was incapable of doing it. She seems to want to, at every moment, break out of the restraints the director was putting on her to break out into 'Everything's Coming up Roses'....ala, well, anyone who has played Mama Rose. I mean, she is not awful and might do better in a role that is more edgy or louder but not this role...which calls for someone to be a player to all those on the outside, but is close to a breakdown, throughout. One just cannot do "Clowns" like "Roses"! I saw Judi Dench sing/speak through "Clowns" and it was amazing. Indeed, could Zeta Jones be simply too young for the role, and therefore unable to get across that which only one who has been 'there and back', several times, hurt, crushed, resurrected....etc...could bring to the role and its songs. Or....maybe I am being too mean. If you can....buy the "Best Of" version of the album unless you are like me, and want the full CD, every version of certWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.