Andrew Lloyd Webber Divas

Andrew Lloyd Webber Divas

5.0 1
by A. L. Webber
     
 

The divas of musical theater have a true friend in Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose ballads have given their voices countless opportunities to soar -- not to mention elevating several of them to bona fide stardom. This compilation could easily have been titled "Lloyd Webber's Greatest Hits," except that the focus is just as much on the singers as the songs, and rightly so.… See more details below

Overview

The divas of musical theater have a true friend in Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose ballads have given their voices countless opportunities to soar -- not to mention elevating several of them to bona fide stardom. This compilation could easily have been titled "Lloyd Webber's Greatest Hits," except that the focus is just as much on the singers as the songs, and rightly so. It's the variety of voices -- from Madonna to Barbra Streisand to Kiri Te Kanawa, each bringing a unique style to Lloyd Webber's melodies -- that makes this album so enjoyable. Sometimes the contrasts offer a real jolt: Moving from the ethereal pipes of Sarah Brightman on "Surrender" to the deeply emotive acting of Glenn Close on "With One Look" (both from Sunset Boulevard), you're struck by the sheer variety of interpretations these songs allow. Even so, it's fun to stack up the competition and see who comes out on top among the Norma Desmonds (Close, by a mile) and the Evitas (Elaine Paige neck-and-neck with Patti Lupone). Not all the singers have actually appeared in these musicals on stage or film, but that doesn't disqualify Shirley Bassey from belting out "All I Ask of You" like a force of nature, and it won't stop aspiring divas of the future from testing themselves against these eternally popular tunes.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
As Paul Gambaccini points out in his liner notes to this collection, Andrew Lloyd Webber has been good to the female characters in his musicals, often giving them melodic, affecting ballads to sing. In turn, several female performers have emerged as musical stars singing those songs, among them Elaine Paige, Patti LuPone, and Sarah Brightman. They, along with many others, are heard here, sometimes in recordings drawn from the cast albums to Lloyd Webber's shows. For example, Yvonne Elliman, the first Mary Magdalene in the 1970 studio cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar, performs "I Don't Know How to Love Him," and Barbara Dickson, who scored a British hit with "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" from the 1976 Evita studio cast album, sings it again here. Things get a little more complicated thereafter. The compilers have opted for Broadway's Betty Buckley for "Memory" from Cats, shunting aside Paige, who introduced it in the West End. Paige, who was also the West End's first Evita (although Julie Covington, not included on this disc, originated the role on the 1976 studio cast album), is only included here performing "Rainbow High" from that show. This oddity and others on the album may be explained by the apparent need -- since there was an opportunity -- to have Madonna sing "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from the movie version of Evita. That meant both Paige and LuPone (Broadway's Evita) had to be given other songs. LuPone might have done a song from Sunset Boulevard, a show she opened in London. But her controversial replacement for the Broadway version by Glenn Close perhaps scotched that. Close sings Sunset Boulevard's "With One Look," despite its being somewhat beyond her range, while the vocally superior LuPone is given another lesser Evita song, "Buenos Aires." Besides Madonna, the other big star heard here is Barbra Streisand, who is rarely included in various artists compilations, singing "As If We Never Said Goodbye" from Sunset Boulevard and making a tour de force of it. (Some divas are worth accommodating.) Often, however, it is the lesser known songs or performers who impress the most. Brightman, who starred in The Phantom of the Opera, doesn't get to sing anything from it, but she does sing "Surrender," a song based on a theme from Sunset Boulevard though not actually done as a vocal number in it. The most welcome surprise, both as a composition and as a performance, is Minnie Driver's "Learn to Be Lonely," a song written for the movie version of The Phantom of the Opera. On the other hand, Kiri Te Kanawa's overdone rendition of "The Heart Is Slow to Learn," said to be intended for a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera, does not encourage hopes about such a project.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/26/2006
Label:
Decca Broadway
UPC:
0602498754160
catalogNumber:
000599002
Rank:
49240

Tracks

  1. Memory, song (for the musical Cats)  - Betty Buckley
  2. The Music of the Night, song (for the musical The Phantom of the Opera)  - Katherine Jenkins
  3. Don't Cry for Me Argentina, song (for the musical Evita)  -  Madonna
  4. All I Ask of You, song (for the musical The Phantom of the Opera)  - Shirley Bassey
  5. Surrender, song (for the musical Sunset Boulevard)  - Sarah Brightman
  6. With One Look, song (for the musical Sunset Boulevard)  - Glenn Close
  7. Learn to Be Lonely, song (for the film The Phantom of the Opera)  - Minnie Driver
  8. The Perfect Year, song (for the musical Sunset Boulevard)  - Dina Carroll
  9. I Don't Know How to Love Him, song (for the musical Jesus Christ Supers  - Yvonne Elliman
  10. Buenos Aires, song (for the musical Evita)  - Patti LuPone
  11. As If We Never Said Goodbye, song (for the musical Sunset Boulevard)  - Barbra Streisand
  12. Rainbow High, song (for the musical Evita)  - Elaine Paige
  13. Tell Me on a Sunday, song (for the musical Tell Me on a Sunday)  - Marti Webb
  14. The Heart Is Slow to Learn, song (for the musical Dracula)  - Kiri Te Kanawa
  15. Another Suitcase in Another Hall, song (for the musical Evita)  - Barbara Dickson

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Andrew Lloyd Webber   Primary Artist
John Mauceri   Conductor
Anthony Bowles   Conductor
London Philharmonic Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Harry Rabinowitz   Conductor
Rene Wiegert   Conductor
Paul Bogaev   Conductor

Technical Credits

Andrew Lloyd Webber   Composer,Producer,Orchestration
Don Black   Composer
David Caddick   Producer
David Cullen   Orchestration
Paul Gambaccini   Liner Notes
Charles Hart   Composer
Martin Levan   Engineer
Nigel Lowis   Producer
Robin Sellars   Engineer
Richard Stilgoe   Composer
Nigel Wright   Producer
David Land   Executive Producer
Tim Rice   Composer,Producer
David Hamilton-Smith   Engineer
Gordon Lorenz   Producer
Leon Zervos   Mastering
Trevor Nunn   Composer
T.S. Eliot   Composer
Christopher Hampton   Composer

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