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Sweeney Todd [The 2012 London Cast Album] [Cast Recording, Import]

Michael Ball, Stephen Sondheim, Imelda StauntonAudio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Price: $26.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Sweeney Todd [The 2012 London Cast Album] + Merrily We Roll Along (2012 Encores! Cast) + PASSION (2013 New York Cast)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 10, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording, Import
  • Label: WARNER BROS UK
  • ASIN: B007J5PB6C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,830 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Prelude/The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
2. No Place like London
3. Worst Pies in London
4. My Friends/The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
5. Johanna
6. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
7. Wait
8. Kiss Me
9. Ladies in Their Sensitivities
10. Pretty Women
11. Epiphany
12. A Little Priest
13. God, That's Good!
14. Johanna (Reprise)
15. By the Sea
16. Not While I'm Around
17. Searching
18. The Judge's Return
19. Final Scene
20. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A surprisingly rich version of the Sondheim classic April 10, 2012
Format:Audio CD
I'll be honest--I was pretty worried about Michael Ball doing Sweeney. I haven't kept up with Ball over the last several years, and I still remember him from his golden voiced youth. I didn't think he would have the strength and depth to do Sweeney, one of the richest and hardest characters for the stage. I was surprised to discover that his golden youth has settled into a deeper, richer middle age, giving him just the richness to handle the difficulties of this part. His wonderful vibrato is still there, and he brings it out to shine, but it never detracts and adds a sheen at moments that add to the effect. Imelda Staunton was largely familiar to me from the Harry Potter films, so I wasn't sure what i was going to get here either--but she is ravishing as Mrs. Lovett. Her sad love for Sweeney and her desperation and dark humor are wondrous. Their delirious, deliciously dark "A Little Priest" duet is every bit as delightful as could be desired, especially from Imelda, who clearly has learned much from recordings of the great Angela Lansbury. Lynn Cariou will never be replaced in my affections, but Michael Ball's Sweeney is more enjoyable than Depp's, and to my ear, more enjoyable than Kelsey Grammer's as well. The orchestra is a joy here, and there is much to be admired in this recording. If you are a Sweeney fanatic, this is going to be a treat, a set to return to with pleasure. If you only have room in your collection for one Sweeney, you could do worse than this one, although I would probably recommend starting with the original cast recording. But who only has room for one Sweeney Todd? The more, the merrier, I say, and when the choices are as good as this, there is much to be merry about. Enjoy. And pass me another pie, would you?
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So close... May 17, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This Sweeney came so close to being the definitive recording for the next 30 years. I've always considered Sweeney to be the Hamlet of musicals--there isn't just one way to do it, and the writing allows for any number of interpretations of the two lead roles. Len Cariou was solid and not quite bright, I know he was loved in the role, but he always seemed too straightforward a Sweeney; Michael Cerveris was nicely sinister, though maybe too smart; Bryn Terfel was an opera singer; and Michael Ball...wow. His voice is lighter than previous Sweeneys, more a Broadway tenortone,so some of his music just floats (and the last note of the Act 2 Johanna is amazing), but he sure can darken it when he needs to, and aurally, his Epiphany is thrilling and very scary.

No one will touch Angela Lansbury's Mrs. Lovett, but music hall demented isn't the only way to go, and Imelda Staunton's portrayal on the recording is breathtaking. Her Not While I'm Around will simultaneously freeze your blood and break your heart. Her stage performance must be as much a one for the books as Lansbury's was.

The recorded sound is glorious, and instruments can be heard here that you can't hear on the original--that was made, after all, a third of a century ago. The choral work is powerful, and individual voices and previously unheard lyrics (always a joy in a Sondheim score) stand out.

But...you knew this was coming...but what keeps this from being THE recording for the first half of the 21st century is the abridgement of the score. What were the producers afraid of? That people who were thinking of buying this recording would be put off by the cost of a two-disc set? Please.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like your favorite meal...minus the dessert. May 11, 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This recording does have its flaws, but those flaws are far outweighed by a list of things that are amazing. First and foremost on that list? Imelda Staunton. She is like a master magician, gracefully plying her craft, never letting us see the strings or how hard she's working, and mesmerizing everyone.

Myself and most of my musical theatre enthusiast friends when asked for the polar opposite of Sweeney Todd would have said without a moments hesitation "Michael Ball." But, like the previous reviewer, I was charmed and chilled by his interpretation. Even in Sweeney's more tender, sentimental moments, ("Johanna" in Act 2), he never comes close to schmaltzy, which, let's face it, he has been known to do. His is not a Sweeney of relentless rage, but more like a volcano: You know violence and destruction can come at any second and the thrill is never knowing exactly when.

To touch briefly on the flaws:

This is a truncated recording. You won't hear the full "Johanna" scene from act 1, or "Pirelli's Miracle Elixir/The Contest," or "Parlor Songs," and saddest of all on the cut list is "Poor Thing." Since these songs hold important clues to what's going on in the story, this is not an album for people unfamiliar with the plot. Keep in mind that there is a glut of Sweeney Todd recordings out there, (this is the sixth one in my collection), so at least we have something commemorating these performances, even if it's not a full 2 CD set.

Some of the voices aren't as strong as they could be.

Sometimes the tempos seem to lag which, for me, detracts from the "thriller" aspect of the piece.

Overall, this is a recording that I will be revisiting often, and as a fan I am grateful to have it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great
great CD! such talented performers
Published 10 days ago by Henry Lew
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Ball. Need I say more
Michael Ball is brilliant. A dream come true having this recording with Michael Ball. This man is the finest male singer in the world..
Published 3 months ago by Anthony Santamauro
3.0 out of 5 stars Its OK!
I love Sweeney Todd and this CD is ok. I think there are better versions out there, but if you are a fan of the leads then buy it!
Published 10 months ago by Niagara Boy
4.0 out of 5 stars An original London cast at last
I consider myself very fortunate to have seen the original Broadway cast with Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou while the show was still in previews and before cuts were made to... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Robert Amsel
4.0 out of 5 stars SO Close to Perfect!
First off, this cast is really great. Michael Ball is a revelation as Sweeney Todd, giving a completely chilling performance with a lot of emotion and talent behind him. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ryan Neil
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Revival
I read that some critics prejudged Michael Ball as too "lightweight" to handle Sweeney -- it was the same for me a few decades ago. I got good reviews, and so did he! Read more
Published 17 months ago by Gee
5.0 out of 5 stars Saw this live
I saw this live in London, and it was the best Sweeney I have seen. This recording, in great sound, is the studio recording of this cast. Superb. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Ken Braithwaite
4.0 out of 5 stars Great recording, but not enough Michael Ball
This is the most complete recording of the show that I've heard, with all the songs left out of the film version. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Donna Rapkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweeney Todd (the 2012 London Cast Album)
I had heard very good things about this London Cast Album and was happy to be able to get this version early. It is a very good cast and I am very happy to recommend it. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Thomas R. Anoe
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime
This recording is as good as the original Broadway cast. Imelda Stauton and Michael Ball give performances that frankly send a chill up your spine.
Published 20 months ago by Coco Pazzo
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