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Pacific Overtures [Original London Cast]
     

The Pacific Overtures [Original London Cast]

by James Holmes
 

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Although it failed to find a sustaining audience when it opened on Broadway in 1976, Pacific Overtures, a musical about the opening of Japan to the West written by John Weidman with songs by Stephen Sondheim, continued to attract interest over the years, with an Off-Broadway production in 1984 and

Overview

Although it failed to find a sustaining audience when it opened on Broadway in 1976, Pacific Overtures, a musical about the opening of Japan to the West written by John Weidman with songs by Stephen Sondheim, continued to attract interest over the years, with an Off-Broadway production in 1984 and a British regional premiere in 1986. The English National Opera took it up the following year, opening the first London performance on September 10, 1987, followed shortly after by a recording of the full show that was issued on two CDs (That's Entertainment Records TER-21152) and a slightly abridged double-LP set (TER-21151). The most commonly available version, however, was this highlights disc, which contains the songs only. Roughly comparable to the Original Broadway Cast album (though 11 minutes longer), it presents a somewhat more formal version of the score, probably because the Broadway version employed Asian and Asian-American actors, while this one features British opera singers who miss much of the humor of the score. For instance, Simon Masterton-Smith, playing the Shogun's mother, sings "Chrysanthemum Tea," a song of murder, with plenty of menace but none of the character that Broadway's Alvin Ing brought to it. The one song that the opera singers do really well with is "Please Hello," in which admirals from various countries demand admittance to Japan; particularly effective is the British one, played by Eric Roberts, who sings a parody of Gilbert & Sullivan's "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General" with both the necessary speed and individual phrasing. Nevertheless, the Broadway album remains superior. [In 2004, Jay Records released a remastered version of this album that improved it enormously. The original 1988 TER Classics edition had been mastered so softly that it was difficult to hear well, even at high volume. The new version largely corrected this problem.]

Product Details

Release Date:
09/07/2004
Label:
Jay Records
UPC:
0605288138225
catalogNumber:
1382

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

James Holmes   Primary Artist,Conductor
Joji Hirota   Track Performer,Japanese Percussion
Jim Holmes   Conductor
Terry Jenkins   Vocals,Track Performer,cast
Michael Lloyd   Conductor
Michael Sadler   Vocals,Track Performer,cast
Yoshikazu Iwamoto   Shakuhachi,Track Performer
James Flournoy Holmes   Conductor
Raymond Ovens   Leader
Eric Roberts   Vocals,Track Performer,cast
Richard Angas   Vocals,cast
Leon Berger   Vocals,cast
Edward Byles   Vocals,cast
John Cashmore   Vocals,cast
Carolyn Choa   Dancer
Diana Choy   Dancer
Gordon Christie   Vocals,cast
Ian Comboy   Vocals,cast
Graham Fletcher   Vocals,cast
John Kitchiner   Vocals,cast
Donna Louise   Dancer
Claire Lutter   Dancer
Thomas Marty   cast
Ian McLaren   cast
Harry Nicoll   Vocals,cast
Alan Woodrow   Vocals,cast
Paul Strathearn   Vocals,cast
Malcolm Rivers   Vocals,cast
Christopher Booth-Jones   Vocals
English National Opera Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Simon Masterton-Smith   Vocals

Technical Credits

Stephen Sondheim   Lyricist
Joji Hirota   Contributor
John Kurlander   Engineer
Michael Lloyd   Contributor
Jonathan Tunick   Orchestration
John Weidman   Author,Book,Sleeve Notes
David Toguri   Choreographer
Ben Turner   Engineer
John Yap   Producer,Executive Producer
Raymond Ovens   Orchestra Leader
Hugh Wheeler   Additional Music
Anthea Pender   Cover Design
Nicola Bowie   Assistant Choreographer
Henrietta Bredin   Liner Notes,Sleeve Notes
Carolyn Choa   Assistant Choreographer
Heather Kenmure   Cover Design
Marie Jeanne Lecca   Costume Design
Keith Warner   Stage Direction

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