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Bernstein: Wonderful Town [DVD] [2005]

Simon Rattle , Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra    Exempt   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 17.98 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Simon Rattle, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Thomas Hampson, Audra McDonald, Wayne Marshall
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • DVD Release Date: 4 Dec 2006
  • Run Time: 76 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009K7J5U
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 108,727 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Una commedia musicale ricca di danze, cori e molti espedienti affascinanti. L'illustre binomo Ratte-Berliner Philharmoniker in cooperazione con alcune stelle di Broadway, come Kim Criswell e Audra McDonald, oltre al famoso baritono Thomas Hampson. L'atmosfera esuberante culmina nello sbalorditivo bis dove pubblico e musicisti sono coinvolti in una danza irrefrenabile.

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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Hard to Imagine a More Thrilling Performance 20 July 2005
'Wonderful Town' is not Leonard Bernstein's best score, but you wouldn't know it from this exuberant performance in the unlikeliest of places: New Year's Eve 2002 at the Philharmonie, the home of the Berlin Philharmonic. Led by their new chief conductor, Sir Simon Rattle, and featuring an all-star cast of American singers, this semi-staged BPO concert version of the Bernstein's 1953 Broadway hit is amazingly right in all its particulars. From the jazzy overture to the encore of 'Conga!' in which Rattle entreats the gala audience (in German) to get up and form a conga line, the joy and esprit of this concert has to be seen and heard to be believed. The singers are as good as they get. Kim Criswell, one of the best Broadway singers of recent times, plays the aspiring writer, Ruth Sherwood, with brass, spunk, and shaky cynicism; her 'One Hundred Ways to Lose a Man' had the audience roaring. Ruth's sister Eileen is performed by the delectable Audra McDonald, winner of three Tonys before the age of 28. (Interestingly, it's a homecoming of sorts for McDonald; she was born in Berlin in 1970.) A graduate of Juilliard, McDonald has one of the most gorgeous voices around these days, and personality to spare. Her 'A Little Bit in Love' is scrumptious. One number that brings a lump to the throat is the sisters' duet, 'Ohio' ('Why, Oh Why, Oh Why Oh, Why Did I Ever Leave Ohio').
Singing multiple roles in his marvelous baritone, the handsome Brent Barrett sings 'Christopher Street' and rocks the house with 'Pass the Football.' I was frankly amazed that the German audience seemed to have no trouble understanding some of the 1950s American slang in that and other songs. They clearly were having the time of the lives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful town wonderful sound 22 Oct 2012
This is the poor sister of Bernstein's babes. But I have always liked the song Ohio and some of the Gerwshin-like themes through this not very often staged musical. Lenny B on fine form and the Comden and Green lyrics as sharp as you could wish for. The cast of Kim Criswell, Audra McDonald, and Brent Barrett is better than any stage director could assemble and Rattle is in charge.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent concert presentation of Wonderful Town 31 July 2007
This concert version of the Betty Comden/Adolph Green/Leonard Bernstein 1953 Broadway hit demonstrates just how much skilled, experienced professionals can accomplish. The three turned out the score in four weeks. The production was a vehicle for Rosalind Russell's star return to Broadway after years in Hollywood...and Russell couldn't sing. They fashioned a series of raucous, tender, funny, romantic songs, with Russell's efforts tailored to her comedy skills and limited vocal ability. The show was a smash, and so is this concert performance conducted by Simon Rattle.

Kim Criswell sings Ruth Sherwood and Audra McDonald sings her younger sister, Eileen. The book is based on Ruth McKenney's best seller My Sister Eileen. Ruth wants to be a writer, Eileen wants to be an actress. They leave their home in Ohio and head for New York, where they wind up in a crummy Greenwich Village apartment. They meet an assortment of oddballs, have a series of adventures, and Ruth finds love and success. It's a funny, sweet story. Comden and Green fashioned lyrics that are satirical but good-natured. Bernstein rose to the task with songs that could be funny and tender, but also with set pieces designed to show off Russell. These pieces -- Conga!, One Hundred Easy Ways to Lose a Man, Swing! -- are complicated, often raucous and were deliberately designed to be show-stoppers for Russell. They're still show-stoppers with Criswell.

Comden and Green had a way of making fun of things that seldom left wounds. Listen to the lyrics of Pass That Football, What a Waste or Conga! and you'll most likely laugh at the wry recognition of your own pretensions. While I admire most of Bernstein's Broadway shows, my admiration is more intellectual than emotional.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Wow - this is a spectacular muscial rendering. The orchestra, under Simon Rattle, is fabulous. What can we say about Kim Criswell, Audra McDonald, and Brent Barrett - such versatility, beautifully in tune, wonderful attention to the words and so characterful.

Thomas Hampson - what a God given voice, along with superb looks and a great physique and, again, a versatile singer - my wife has fallen in love with him!

All the other artists who took part, including the chorus, were superb.

My only complaint is that it should have gone on for another hour (or maybe two)!!
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