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4.7 out of 5 stars22
4.7 out of 5 stars
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2003
well what can i say? having grown up with musicals this one really is brilliant and glenn close and alan campbell are both brilliant and work brilliantly together. all of the songs are here including the wonderful hits 'Sunset Boulevard' 'as if we never said goodbye' 'the perfect year' and the stunning 'with one look' which is sung beautifully by miss close who, in my opinion is one of the best norma desmonds of all time. she has a very dramatic face and a eery singing voice which both come together and bring the beautiful work of andrew lloyd webber. the only thing i will say is that there is alot of dialouge compared to other musical cds. other cast include the 10th anniversary les misérables cosette, judy kuhn as bety schaefer and george hearn as max.
brilliant and if you are thinking of adding sunset boulevard to your collection i would advise this edition because of, in two words, Glenn Close.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 September 2012
It's easy to see why Andrew Lloyd Webber was attracted to this story. It follows the same formula as Phantom of The Opera and Aspects of Love: a younger man loves a mega actress whilst an older man lurks in the shadows, pining for her. Of course the actress here is not young and pretty so perhaps the sexes are reversed. Anyway, the older man/woman represents a dangerous sexuality whilst the younger option represents an innocent love.

For those who don't know the classic Billy Wilder film noir on which this is based, it tells the tale of Joe Gillis (in this recording, Alan Campbell), a struggling Hollywood writer who accidentally stumbles into the creepy world of former silent screen siren Norma Desmond (in this recording, Glenn Close) and then stumbles into her bed. As she traps him in her crumbling world of delusions, he regrets his decision and starts longing for his newbee writing partner, wholesome Betty Schafer (in this recording, played by Judy Kuhn). But Joe's fate is sealed.

The musical doesn't flow as nicely as Webber's other musicals, although there are some big songs, the best of which is the title track, a cynical commentary on the hell that is Hollywood. Norma's songs tend to blend into one for me but they're not too bad: With One Look and As If We Never Said Goodbye are the main two. The Perfect Year is a duet between Joe and Norma, although obviously Norma sings the vast majority of it. Some people have complained that the score is too anachronistic. For a start, there are very few musicals that don't sound like the period they were written in. Secondly, a lot of it does sound period. Let's Have Lunch effectively evokes the days of classic Hollywood and Too Much In Love Too Care sounds a little Rodgers and Hammerstein-y.

As the numbers are a little bland, it's down to the singers to sell them. For me, all Patti LuPone did was sing. She can sing quite well (even if it is not the most pleasant voice) but she just sounds so unbothered. Glenn Close makes a real effort and it shows. The flaws in her voice add to Norma's fragility and delusion. My favourite out of the Normas I've listened to is Betty Buckley, who has a really nice pleasant voice and doesn't sound like a complete old bat.

Alan Campbell is great as Joe. There may be a lack of softness in his performance but there is a good deal of cynicism. Kevin Anderson's cynicism was present but Campbell shows us a man who is laughing grimly at his descent. Like William Holden did in the film, he gives a virile performace. The trouble with Anderson and John Barrowman is that they sound like rent boys throughout. The whole point of Joe's character is that his confident individuality is destroyed and he is forced to become a mad old woman's play thing. Michael Ball does a good job in the role as well but his accent is cringeworthy.

Judy Kuhn sounds a bit too worldy as Betty. Betty is meant to be a sweet innocent girl who does not understand that there can be relationships like Joe and Norma's. Kuhn sounds nice and sane but not naive.

All in all, the musical is worth listening to but it's the characters and story that make it rather than the music.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2003
First of all, the original cast audio tape doesn't do it justice. A lot of dialogue is missing and (despite what it says on amazon) so is every movies a circus, in fact its replace with a different song, strangely enough.
This is the audio cd version, the american recordings. First of all I have to say everyone in this cast makes the lyrics a lot more coherent than in the previous pertula clark and co, although they did a good job. Originally I saw the show with Glenn Close so it brings back memories just to hear her sing these songs again and she's as terrific on stage as she is on cd.
It's a brilliant show, it translates well to CD, although obviousely nothing can beat the live thing. My only complaint is that there is always too much reverb on the vocals of these recorded versions. I'm sure this is to recreate the space of a theatre but to be honest by the time you get an audience in there a lot of that is taken away from the sound as it travels straight to their ears. Singing in an empty theatre and a full theatre gives a completely different sound and the amount of reverb on the vocals seems to recreate an empty theatre, but thats a minor niggle, it's still a brilliant translation to CD even if it doesn't perfectly represent the live sound. Great cast, great musical, full dialogue, coherent singing and acting.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2002
for those who loved billy wilders black comedy, this musical reinterpretation by andrew lloyd webber is a welcome return to the story. In many ways the soundtrack heightens the key moments as we are left to image the scene's as we hear them.
Glenn Close is a tour de force as the forgotten Norma Desmond and delivers her key moments with a real sense of pathos.
The same could also be said for the role of Joe Gillis, and one gets a real sense of the cynicism that william holden brought to the original role. no where is this more perfectly demonstrated than in the title song, which drips with bitterness and resentment.
A brilliant return to form by andrew Lloyd Webber.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 December 2009
Bought it because we saw it on our honeymoon. I loved it and our kids loved it too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2013
these are wonderful songs thanks to A.L.WEBER. This artist in one of the best of our time. Thanks a lot
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on 28 January 2015
Finally I have this version of Lloyd-Webber's masterpiece. Glen Close is perfectly cast as the faded silent movie godess & delivers the songs & the included dialogue with a passion & commitment lacking in other recorded versions. Oh, to have seen her performance live in the theatre! If you like Sunset Boulevard I recomend this atmospheric cd.
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on 14 September 2014
I'm a diehard Sunset fan, and love this recording as it's the complete musical. I already owned a copy, but unfortunately CD1 wouldn't play properly (probably down to me just throwing it into the glove compartment of my car) so this was purchased as a replacement. If you love the musical, you'll adore this 2CD collection.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 22 June 2005
After opening to poor reviews in London, Lloyd-Webber opened the musical in Los Angeles, setting of the show, with a newly tweaked and refurbished production. Starring in the leading role of Norma Desmond was actress Glenn Close who, despite not having the voice of London star Patti LuPone, manages to prove herself as the definite Miss. Desmond. Her voice manages to convey all the emotions the character is experiencing thoughout the show, whilst having an eerie, lost quality perfect for the character. The supporting cast are also excellent, with Alan Campbell proving an excellent leading man, with Judy Kuhn as his fine voiced love interest, both of whom triumph in the second act love duet, 'Too Much in Love to Care'. George Hearn also stars as butler Max. THe recording is of all the musical acts in the show, with linking dialogue cut, but despite this, the running time of just over two hours contains the entire story. The reorchestrated score sounds the best it ever has, with subtle references to Franx Waxman's original movie score. This studio album, however, does not contain the elongated 'home' in 'As if we Never Said Goodbye' that can be found in most other recordings and stagings. A very slight amount of low level hiss can be heard on the recording, due to it's orignal analogue recording source, but other than that, the sound is top notch. In my opinion, this is the best recording of Webber's masterpiece, and comes complete with full-colour booklet containing liberetto and production photographs.
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on 7 February 2013
An absolutely stellar soundtrack, paired with a brilliantly expressive cast! - I've heard some people criticise Glenn for her 'weak' or 'feeble' voice, and while she is no Betty Buckley, Close brings a fragility and a new believability to the much coveted role of Norma Desmond.
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