12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
MOMENTS SO BEAUTIFUL THAT WILL BRING TEARS TO YOUR EYES, BUT . . . . .,
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This review is from: Kismet (1991 Studio Cast) (Audio CD)
This KISMET has its moments. Some of them will take your breath away, and others will make you cringe. Overall, it's a recording that you might want to include in your library, primarily because of the marvelous singing by Jerry Hadley.
"Stranger in Paradise," sung by Hadley & Ruth Ann Swenson, is so ravishingly beautiful that it will bring tears to your eyes. That moment alone is worth the price of this album. Additionally, Hadley's "Night of My Nights" will absolutely give you goose bumps. In fact, I doubt if there has ever been a better sung "Caliph" anywhere. Listen to the way he pops off high A-flats & B-flats. Wow!
Ruth Ann Swenson is a lovely "Marsinah," although she doesn't seem as comfortable in the role as either Doretta Morrow on the 1953 Original Cast recording or Lee Venora in the 1965 Lincoln Center Revival. Julia Migenes (Have you seen her CARMEN?) is in great voice as "Lalume," playing her more subtly than either Joan Diener or Anne Jeffreys. I prefer broad. Dom DeLuise is a wretched "Wazir" and sticks out like a sore thumb among the trained voices. But most wretched of all is Mandy Patinkin singing "Zubbediya," usually sung by the "Widow Yussef." What was producer Thomas Z. Shepard smoking?
Of course, the overall success of any KISMET depends on the actor/singer who play "Hajj, the Poet," and let's face it, Alfred Drake owns the part. Samuel Ramey has the voice and the looks but, unfortunately, limited acting ability. He sings all the right notes, but appears more concerned with producing a gorgeous tone than with interpreting the song. His best moment is "The Olive Tree."
Paul Gemignani leads the London Symphony Orchestra and the combined forces of the Ambrosian Singers and the Concert Chorale of New York, and how welcome they are in lieu of today's synthesized pit bands and scaled-back corps of singer/dancers. However, at times the shear mass of musicians tends to bog down the show.
In spite of its flaws, this is still a valuable recording and deserves a place in your library along with the 1953 Broadway Cast and the Lincoln Center recording - if Sony/BMG ever gets around to remastering it.