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4.5 out of 5 stars41
4.5 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CDChange
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 2 April 2012
This is a brilliant recording first and foremost. The characters shine through and there really is a fantastic sense of the production. But why oh why did they take the razor to the score and cut out some of the songs? This prouction deserved a double disc. What you get is the 'story' basically told on a single disc which is OK for those who simply want to relive the memories of the production itself, but for those who are keen musical fans a double disc would have been more satisfying than a Lovett meat pie. Buy it. It's worth it. But be prepared for wanting more- we get the meat but not the gravy.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2012
My toungue was hanging out for this new recording. Saw the show last year at Chichester and definately the best production so far in the UK.

The recording is fine and beautifully sung and played but is incomplete. I would have thought that with Steve Sondheim co-producing this album it would have been a complete or semi-complete recording but it omits so much! No Pirelli, for example.

What is there is wonderful though, and essential listening for all Sondheim fans.

I suspect the entire production was in fact recorded and will be put out later as a special double album. I certainly hope so...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 9 April 2012
It's extraordinary that it has taken 33 years for a British cast recording of this iconic masterpiece to appear. As much as I love all the previous recordings on CD and DVD (with the exception of the miscast film), it is fantastic to have at last a reading of the score which isn't hampered by jarring American accents. For once, the Victorian setting feels authentically British, as indeed it should.

However, as other reviewers have stated, the cuts are a serious flaw in what would have otherwise been the first choice Sweeney on disc. As odd as it is to hear nothing from Signor Pirelli, I cannot comprehend why there is no `Greenfinch and Linnet Bird', one of the work's great numbers. Surely this could have been squeezed on? Amongst many other highlights, I sorely miss what is from a musical standpoint the most exquisitely crafted item in the score `The Letter' scene.

Nevertheless, this is a very fine recording. As far as I can tell, a slightly pared down version of the original orchestration is used, and the complex layers of the score are cleanly revealed and sharply defined. Michael Ball is, as one would expect, one of the best sung Sweeneys on disc. There are just so many colours and nuances in his performance. He often courageously reigns in his rich, full throttle vocals in order to acheive subtle dramatic effects. My other favourite Sweeney, George Hearn, sounds somewhat over sung in comparison.

Imelda Staunton provides an intelligent foil without hedging into caricature territory. The only weak link in the cast is Luke Brady as Anthony. His voice is altogether too lightweight and ineffectual to provide the appropriate heft for `Johanna'. As virtuous as he is, there should always be a hint of the rough hewn sailor in the character. There is none here.

Altogether a great effort, which makes it all the more painful that we were given such an incomplete recording.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2012
There are several fine renderings of this exquisite musical available in various media - but this is absolutely the finest. This Sweeney scores in every dimension: acting, orchestration and, of course, vocals. If you're lucky enough to be reading this whilst the London production is still running: cut throats to get a ticket. The performances are unimprovably sublime across the board, with a revelatory turn from Michael Ball, superb support (in which John Bowe's breathtaking Judge Turpin is outstanding), a stunning set, beautiful playing from all concerned, instrumental, song and characterisation and - above even all of these - Imelda Staunton's magnificent tragi-comic presentation of Mrs Lovett. Everyone involved sells every note, every syllable, every joke; and it's no wonder that Sondheim himself was so taken with the show - sheer perfection in the art of musical theatre. And if you can't get to the Adelphi: this disk will do very nicely, thank you. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter did a fine job in the movie; Len Cariou and (of course) Angela Lansbury worked wonders with the 70s debut... but this version and the thankfully excellent recording packaged here are absolutely the best. God, it's good!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 May 2012
At last a recording of Sweeney Todd that is sung by trained singers! Every word is sung with clarity and precise articulation. It feels like you are a member of the audience rather than a passive listener in your own front room. The orchestrations are wonderful and Imelda Staunton's black humour is cleverly entwined with Michael Ball's menacing torment. if you bought the recording of the Film starring Johnny Depp, discard it and treat yourself to this amazing version!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2012
As others have said there are a few omissions but what is there is perfect! Imelda Staunton eclipses my previous favourite (Maria Friedman) and Michael Ball is a revelation.
I saw the production in Chichester - loved it but doubted that it would record well - I was wrong!!
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on 26 June 2012
I listened to this album and was immediately convinced that this was by far the best cast of Sweeney Todd ever! I therefore went to see it live at the Adeplhi Theatre, and am now certain this is the best cast! Michael Ball is a superb Sweeney, with an amazing voice and terrific acting, perfectly capturing the emotions of the complex character Sweeney is, in my opinion is the best Sweeney ever. Imelda Staunton is simply incredible, she makes Mrs Lovett an extremely loveable character, and makes the audience sympathetic for her and Sweeney's shunning of her. Her acting is spot on for Mrs Lovett, and this combined with a solid singing voice makes her also in my mind the best Mrs Lovett. The rest of the cast are also great, all giving superb performances on the night I saw them (the one possible downfall being the actor of Pirelli who was not the best, weaker singing voice but good acting). I personally absolutely love this production and believe any Sweeney fan should value it high in the ranks. With Steven Sondheim being a fan of recording his productions and the limited album in the songs they released with this CD, I remain highly hopeful that they will film this production and release it on DVD as they have done in the past with other productions, particularly with it closing in September. Love it!
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on 30 May 2012
Sweeney Todd has been a favourite of mine for a while. I own several cast recordings and in all of them there are certain highlights and some minor disappointments. This one is certainly among the best. The recording is crystal clear and the cast truly manages to make every word understandable. Certain key songs are missing, but then certain other pieces which most other recordings exclude have been added. A complete recording would be most welcome though.
Ball and Staunton excell as Todd and Lovett. The other cast might take some getting used to, but they certainly lived up to their expectations on stage. If anything, the stage performance is so styrong the cast recording simply cannot capture it in it's full gory glory.
A must have for all fans, and, a steal for the price Amazon are offering it copared to the cost at the venue and on iTunes.
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on 3 May 2012
The performances on this excellent recording come across beautifully - not just in terms of vocal performance, but also in terms of character, comic timing, etc. The chorus and band also sound great.
It's a wonderful document of a truly thrilling production. I had the good fortune to see this at the Adelphi Theatre in March and have booked tickets for a return trip in September - listening to this recording was almost as good as being there.
My only criticism is that, this being a single CD, there are some omissions from the score (Green Finch and Linnet Bird, Pirelli's Miracle Elixir, Wigmaker Sequence and, most regrettably, Judge Turpin's Johanna).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 April 2012
This is so awesome, I can't get enough of it. Michael Ball never ceases to amaze-he can do anything and do it well. I love it and recommend it to anyone.
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