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Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific Cast Recording

4.4 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, May 27, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

New Broadway Cast Recording of South Pacific. The landmark musical's first-ever Broadway revival! The curtain rang down on Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific in 1954 after five years of extraordinary acclaim and countless awards including nine Tonys and a Pulitzer. Based on James Michener's Pulitzer Prize winning book Tales of the South Pacific, the musical is set on a tropical island during WW II and tells the sweeping romantic story of two couples - U.S. Navy nurse Nellie Forbush and French plantation owner Emile de Becque and Marine Joe Cable and a young local native girl Liat - and how their happiness is threatened by the realities of the war and by their own prejudices. The score's songs include such musical theater classics as "Some Enchanted Evening," "Younger Than Springtime," "Bali Ha'i," "There is Nothin' Like a Dame" and "A Wonderful Guy."
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 27, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: May 27, 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Masterworks Broadway / Sony / BMG
  • Run Time: 65 minutes
  • ASIN: B0017I1G0W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,579 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John W. Cotner on June 5, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
it is too easy to judge a revival of a golden broadway hit by the template of the original and find the newer show wanting; this one is not, believe me. i can understand how frank rich of the new york times burst into tears in response to the opening night show; i almost did, too, when i listened to this cd for the first time. this edition of south pacific -- only the second on the broadway stage in 60 years -- is simply sublime. i found it better than the original in many ways. it is the best revival since guys and dolls with nathan lane, better than the recent revivals of the music man (close) kiss me kate (not so much) and pal joey (get oudda here...).

and folks who say this recording is insipid or lacks energy or that certain songs are "too well sung" are all wet. the orchestrations are true to the original ones, so the music will immediately sound familiar and comfortable, but now with 21st century technology and crystal clear sound so you can hear what the music sounded like to folks back in 1949.

kelli o'hara is out of sight as nellie forbush; her voice is pure and clear and pitch perfect and conveys all the energy you'd want and she interprets the lyrics "correctly" (read: as we have come to understand from mary martin and mitzi gaynor). she even affects a southern accent, and exudes way more in good looks and femininity than mary martin ever did, and is more energetic and more of a real singer than mitzi gaynor in the movie. they can mail kelli the tony right now.

paulo szot as emile de becque fills up the music hall with his baritone-bass voice on his big songs, especially twin soliloquies and this nearly was mine. some enchanted evening was a little softer than ezio pinza's and that song needs to be boomed out.
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Format: Audio CD
The first Broadway revival of "South Pacific" has been greeted with absolutely ecstatic reviews and a host of awards. I honestly don't think I've seen or read a single negative thing about this production. However, something must have been lost in the translation to CD, because I find this recording to be little more than mildly entertaining.

Musically, there is very little fault to be found with this CD. The performeres all have good (and in the case of Kelli O'Hara and Paolo Szot, great) voices. O'Hara's crystal clear tone rings like a bell on her songs, and Brazilian opera star Szot uses his expert understanding of musicality and dynamics to good effect. Szot is particularly impressive on "Some Enchanted Evening," where his voice caresses the melody and makes this oft-sung song sound new again.

Even more impressive is the orchestra, which at nearly 30 pieces is one of the largest on Broadway. This recording will make you long (if you don't already) for the days when such large pit orchestras were common, because they sound absolutely fabulous. From the first sumptuous chords of the "Bali Ha'i" melody that begin the overture to the final ultimo, the musicians - under the expert baton of conductor Ted Sperling - transport you to the tropical South Pacific and find every ounce of texture in the score's orchestrations.

With so much right, why only three stars? Well, it's almost as if the score is a little too perfect. In taking such care with the music, the performers seem to have lost the life of the characters. Rodgers & Hammerstein's brilliance was their ability to write beautiful melodies while serving story and character.
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Format: Audio CD
The current 2008 Lincoln Center revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC, is an absolutely wonderful evening of entertainment, fully deserving of all the praise it has garnered so far. Unfortunately, little if any of the magic and excitement that the stage performance has in spades is to be found on this cast recording of the show. It is truly disappointing to report that the songs are sung here by the principals as if they have left their stage personas behind and decided to merely sing the songs as pop tunes rather than within the context of the show. Paulo Szot, in particular, gives rather lackluster performances of Emile de Becque's songs. On the stage, his acting and singing are exemplary but on this recording he appears to be singing phonetically, giving the impression he does not understand what the lyrics mean, certainly not the case in his stage performance. Even Kelli O'Hara, a superb singer whose voice is perfect for Nellie Forbush, sings her songs so carefully that it appears that she is trying to be letter perfect in her vocal delivery but little else, again in severe contrast from her stage vocals. Matthew Morrison, as Cable is the weakest singer in the show and that is evident even more so on this recording, but at least on the stage he more than made up for his vocal shortcomings by delivering a multi-layered acting performance in the role, which is of little consequence on this recording. In contrast, Loretta Ables Sayre, as Bloody Mary sings her numbers very close to what was heard on the stage and comes across best of all on this recording.Read more ›
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