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on January 2, 2006
I recently bought this deluxe edition thinking that the audio quality would be better than the regular US release since it has been 'remastered'. When I listened to it, I could hear some noise specially in silent moments (such as in conversations). When I listened to my highlights CD (US release), the audio quality was much, much better. So, I suggest that this 'deluxe edition' not be considered if you're thinking of buying the original American cast recording of Sunset Boulevard. Better stick with the regular US release.
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on August 1, 1999
After hearing Evita and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat I thought I'd heard the extent of Andrew Lloyd Webber's talents. Then I bought Sunset Boulevard. This is without question the most amazing musical I have ever heard (to say nothing about being ALW's best). It's dialogue is exceptional and the music is not used in such ways as other ALW musicals, such as the two I previously mentioned. Instead it's used in such a way as to not tell the story but instead augment it and make it all the more spectacular. Close's performance was spectacular and I'm truly amazed her talent comes through a CD as well as it does on a screen. Joe McGillis is an unforgettable character, right up there with the best cynics in history. The character who plays him does give a somewhat flawed performance but there's some much character there it's impossible to completely botch it. Everyone else is amazing. I really just can't say enough about this musical. It has prompted me to try everything in my power to see it live. For those of you, like me, who probably won't anytime soon I truly urge you to get this CD. I repeat a previous reviewer who said if you care at all about music theater you should get this CD.
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on June 25, 2014
Although she didn't originate the role, I have always felt that Glenn Close's performance as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard is the definitive one. Her emotional range in the show is amazing; in addition to her outstanding vocal ability (she's not a perfect singer, but what flaws she has plays well with the character), Close's skills as a dramatic actress are also clearly displayed. Even without the visual component, Close's voice sets the scene and she moves easily from histrionics to sly manipulation to faux humility until the final sequences when she finally loses herself in her own delusions.

The supporting cast is also excellent, especially Judy Kuhn as Betty. Her voice is fresh and crisp and plays well against the smoky, sensual voice of Alan Campbell as Joe. I originally purchased the highlights version of this cast album, and while also excellent, it doesn't compare to this complete collection. This 2 CD set features extended songs and all of the instrumental pieces. This is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's best musicals (it's definitely my personal favorite of his works) and it really captures the tragic decay of the original film. There are lots of great deals on this complete set, especially with the Used options (I got mine for less than $5, not including shipping fee) so if you love musicals I definitely recommend this set. Some people prefer to have the cast recording of those who originated the roles, and Patti Lupone is no slouch, but Glenn Close as Norma Desmond is unforgettable!
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on April 15, 2000
This cd is one of the greatest recordings by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Even though it's just an audio cd, you can actually visualize the play in your head as they sing beautiful music and explode wtih emotion. Glenn close does a spectacular job as Norma and Alan Campbell is just about the best Joe you'll ever find. Betty is wonderfully played by Judy Kuhn, who also performs as singing voice of Disney's Pocahontas. As you can see, we have exquisite actors and vocalists that fulfill these roles and if anyone should have a critical response, they should save it for another play. Sunset Blvd is undoubtedly a musical masterpiece =)
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on October 8, 1998
This is the Sunset recording any devoted fan must own. And why ? Only this album contains the full score - all the changes incorporated into the award winning Los Angeles production. Only here can you experience the full book, underscoring and the new song written by Llyod Webber - 'Every Movie's a Circus.' While the London cast recording consists of a pared down version of the dialogue, here every thing is as you'll here it on stage. And the result ? The full atmosphere, the forbidding mood, the ominous, dasrk quality that lurks in this beautifully romantic, menacing piece of true theatre. What makes it truly great however, is the performance of Hollywood movie star Miss Glenn Close. Yes, it can be argued that she is less vocally talented than other actresses. Her range is more limited certainly. This however, makes her rendition of With One Look no less effective. Indeed her voice reverberates with the bitterness and determination Norma feels. She sounds so much like a silent star who could have been rejected because her voice would not record well ! She invests every song with amazing emotion and haunting pathos. 'As If We Never said Goodbye,' is made all the more touching by her voice breaking into heart felt sobs as she cries 'Has there ever been a moment with so much to live for ?' As for the way she handles the dialogue - role over Gloria Swanson. She is bitchy, authorative, commanding and sympathetic all at once ! The final scene here is outstanding, with Miss Close practically becoming Salome and the hysterics you hear as she pleads with Joe not to leave her sound like a spoilt child crying. This is of course what Norma is - someone so distorted by her years in Hollywood that she has never grown up. It is on this recording that you can here the tony award winning actress at her best and experience the full, orchestral beauty of what is undeniably one of the greatest musical shows ever.
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on April 30, 2008
Sadly, I haven't seen the show on stage. I found it quite enjoyable on CD. Enough of the dialogue is included to follow the story. Plus both versions include printed lyrics and dialogue.

This is a terrific dramatic musical. I give 4 stars to Lloyd Webber, et al, for songs and lyrics. I would have gone 5 stars, but there are a few songs where they get a good angsty mood going, then suddenly turn to a softer, sweeter mood. I felt they could hold the angst longer. Example: Joe singing to Betty in the final scene (after the phone call).

I purchased both London and Los Angeles CDs. I listened to each carefully and tried not to imprint on one version. Result: I favor the Los Angeles cast, because they do a better job of conveying the emotion. I also recommend L.A. if you like a darker, angsty tale. London is good if you prefer a younger, more innocent Joe & Betty.

** London (4 stars)
1. Patti LuPone (Norma) has a better voice than Glenn Close.
2. Kevin Anderson (Joe) has a sweeter, younger, higher voice.
3. Meredith Braun (Betty) has a sweeter, higher voice.

** Los Angeles (5 stars)
1. Glenn Close (Norma) does a fabulous job of conveying emotion through her voice. Because she plays a "fading" 50-something, her less perfect voice didn't detract.
2. Alan Campbell (Joe) has a deeper, darker, smoother, more adult voice. He sings most of the songs and he's better at carrying the show.

Technical note: A Windows Media Player v 11.0 bug affects the London version: you can't easily rip all the songs into Media Player, because several have the same title. There may be a work-around, but I didn't find it.

London Version Link:
Sunset Boulevard (1993 Original London Cast)
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on September 18, 2007
I have been a fan of this show before it even opened. I followed all the rumors of who was going to be cast. I read all about the workshop productions both in '91 and '92. The show made its big premiere in July '93 and I read ALL the reviews. I waited anxiously for the London recording starring my favorite Diva, Miss La LuPone. Upon receiving the World Premiere Recording October of 1993 (I had to order it over the phone from London), I was extremely let down. Not by the glorious score or storytelling that Lloyd Webber, Black and Hampton had written, but by the average performances of all the original cast. Especially Patti LuPone. I love her voice, but she does not act the role. She just sounds like herself reading cue cards. Kevin Anderson as Joe is even worse. He just sounds bored.

Flash forward a few months to January, 1994. I fly to Los Angeles to visit my brother and to see Sunset Blvd for myself. I have to say, I have never been a Glenn Close fan. I had heard rumors that Meryl Streep had been in the running for the L.A. production, but Close won out which disappointed me. However, I was willing to give Close the benefit of the doubt. After all, I had read all the reviews of the L.A. show and Ms. Close got raves in every paper.

To say I was blown away is an understatement. Glenn Close gave the best live performance I have ever seen to this day. It was sheer magic to witness her take command of the stage and bring to life such an iconic film character.

Alan Campbell, Judy Kuhn and George Hearn were all superior in their roles as well. All four transformed these characters and made them their own.

The weeks that followed, I told everyone I knew that Glenn Close would do Broadway. That ALW would be a fool to not let New York see her performance. Sure enough, February, '94 it was announced that Glenn would be going east as was almost the entire L.A. company.

This recording represents the entire score and dialogue that was seen in Los Angeles and New York. Every single performance is a thousand times better than the London counterparts. As for the orchestrations, the actual pit musicians were used where as the London Recording used studios musicians augmented to give the music a more lush sound.

This is definitive recording of the show. The others are only needed for completests who just want to compare the different performances.

I now live in L.A. (down the street from Paramount Pictures, in fact) and I still will pop in The American Premiere Recording as I'm driving down Sunset and listen as Glenn and company bring to life Billy Wilder's magnificent story.
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Glenn Close cannot sing as well as Patti LuPone. Patti LuPone cannot play a lunatic as well as Glenn Close. Shame. Combine their talents and we would have the best Norma ever seen - or heard! Nonetheless, Glenn CLose's portrayal of Norma Desmond has to be one of the tops. Patti's Norma was weak. Betty Buckleys was selfish, Elaine Paiges was camp and Petula Clarks was funny. With Glenn, you get all these emotions - at exactly the right times - in exactly the right amounts. With a revised score and a superbly conducted orchestra, the music soars and is as dramatic and devastating as Lloyd Webber gets. Patti is good - but if you want the Complete show with the Complete recording and a lasting legacy to this great production, THIS is the soundtrack to buy. Happy Listening folks!
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on March 7, 2015
This was a great production of Webber's piece and i was able to witness it in LA all those years ago.... wonderful staging and performance...
this soundtrack so many years later still takes me back to that time and those performances from the cast including Glenn Close.
Great soundtrack and recording of the production.
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on October 8, 1998
This is the Sunset recording any devoted fan must own. And why ? Only this album contains the full score - all the changes incorporated into the award winning Los Angeles production. Only here can you experience the full book, underscoring and the new song written by Llyod Webber - 'Every Movie's a Circus.' While the London cast recording consists of a pared down version of the dialogue, here every thing is as you'll here it on stage. And the result ? The full atmosphere, the forbidding mood, the ominous, dasrk quality that lurks in this beautifully romantic, menacing piece of true theatre. What makes it truly great however, is the performance of Hollywood movie star Miss Glenn Close. Yes, it can be argued that she is less vocally talented than other actresses. Her range is more limited certainly. This however, makes her rendition of With One Look no less effective. Indeed her voice reverberates with the bitterness and determination Norma feels. She sounds so much like a silent star who could have been rejected because her voice would not record well ! She invests every song with amazing emotion and haunting pathos. 'As If We Never said Goodbye,' is made all the more touching by her voice breaking into heart felt sobs as she cries 'Has there ever been a moment with so much to live for ?' As for the way she handles the dialogue - role over Gloria Swanson. She is bitchy, authorative, commanding and sympathetic all at once ! The final scene here is outstanding, with Miss Close practically becoming Salome and the hysterics you hear as she pleads with Joe not to leave her sound like a spoilt child crying. This is of course what Norma is - someone so distorted by her years in Hollywood that she has never grown up. It is on this recording that you can here the tony award winning actress at her best and experience the full, orchestral beauty of what is undeniably one of the greatest musical shows ever.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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