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South Pacific in Concert from Carnegie Hall Cast Recording

4.7 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Cast Recording, April 18, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Country Music and TV Star, Reba McEntire stars as Nellie Forbush in this live concert version of the classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, South Pacific. Recorded this past summer at Carnegie Hall, South Pacific was a 'one-night' only performance co-starring Broadway's Brian Stokes Mitchell and Alec Baldwin. The entire concert was taped by PBS (to be broadcast April 26), and this 75+ minute CD is the finely mastered cast recording of that concert. Decca. 2006.

Amazon.com

From the second the majestic overture of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1949 show starts, you know you're in for a treat: In this age of diminished Broadway pits, hearing the 45-piece Orchestra of St. Luke's firing on all cylinders is just thrilling. And that's only the beginning of the fun in this most traditional, most delightful musical, recorded live at Carnegie Hall in June 2005. As Nellie Forbush, Reba McEntire deploys a homespun Southern charm that works marvels against the urbane Emile de Becque, i.e., Brian Stokes Mitchell and his impossibly buttery baritone (check out his rendition of "Some Enchanted Evening"). Of course we shouldn't be surprised, since country star Reba had turned out to be musical-theater star Reba when she replaced Bernadette Peters in Annie Get Your Gun on Broadway. Here, she brightly delivers classics (yes, the show is packed with them) like "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" and "A Wonderful Guy." And let's not forget Lillias White, chewing the scenery in spectacular fashion as Bloody Mary ("Bali Ha'i," "Happy Talk"--what was that about the show being packed with memorable tunes again?). When the classic American musical is done with such gusto, it's hard not to be won over. --Elisabeth Vincentelli
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Product Details

  • Performer: Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Reba McEntire, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Alec Baldwin
  • Audio CD (April 18, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Cast Recording
  • Label: Verve
  • ASIN: B000EMG9AY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,849 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
In the beginning, was the Score. And oh, my, what a score it is; truely one of the gems of the Golden Age of Broadway Musicals. One is transported, as classic after classic washes over you. And although some of the references are a bit dated, ("skin as soft as DiMaggio's glove"), it makes no difference. That old cliche': "they don't write 'em like this anymore", is certainly true.

The performers are really wonderful. Jason Danieley and Lillias White are standouts. Perfect for their roles. Alec Baldwin made me laugh out loud. (What a hambone!) And Brian Stokes Mitchell! Wow! Dude can sing!

As a long-time fan of Country Music, I have watched the artistic growth of Reba McEntire for many years, but she continues to amaze. Her performance in "Annie Get Your Gun" was sublime. And I think she is wonderful here, bringing zest, heart, and passion to her role. Not to mention that voice. You can hear one syllable of one word, and immediately know it's Reba. There's no singer like her. As Country fans know, she has always been a premier story-teller in song, and she uses that talent to great advantage here. Once again, she's made her fans proud. Nice goin', Red.

The only thing better than this CD? That would have to be the DVD, scheduled for May 2006. Can't wait.
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I watched this concert on our local PBS station, and was completely captivated. Firstly, no one has sung the part of Emile like Brian Stokes Mitchell; forget what you think you know of "This Nearly was Mine". His version is simply the most beautiful one I've ever heard. He sang it with such passion that it moved me to tears.

Secondly, I must admit I'm not a Reba fan. Nothing against her, but I just don't care for country music. HOWEVER...

She did an incredible job as Nellie. Her Tulsa accent worked very nicely as the girl from Little Rock. And she put such joy and energy in the part, I couldn't help but love her.

Thirdly, Lillias White was absolutely outstanding in her role, singing "Bali Hai" better than I've ever heard it.

True, this is an unusual version of this musical, but that's what I enjoyed about it. The songs are of course familiar, but they have a new life to them in this concert version.
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Format: Audio CD
Those Broadway aficianados - some appear on this page - who approach show tunes the way opera buffs do opera - as a sacred pure art - will drop their monacles when they hear Reba McEntire bend notes like steel girders. And after hearing Mary Martin work so hard (and well) to disguise her Texas twang in the incredible original cast recordings ("...waiting for the daunce", for instance), it is a shock for a moment. But then the rightness of the contrast with Mitchell's operatic barotone creates the same magic that Pinza and Martin had, two very different worlds, styles and talents that somehow merge. Though the very difficult circumstances may contribute real nervousness to McEntire's performance (these concerts are always wildly under-rehearsed for financial reasons), she works it into her performance and gives Nellie a quality of vulnerability that illuminates why her fears would pull her back from her passion. Mitchell plays the very adult quality of his character well, a man who expects trouble even from a woman he loves deeply; racism is no surprise to him, he'd seen Hitler rise. This takes thirty years off the script. He sings the magnificent "This Nearly Was Mine" perhaps a shade too slow in tempo, but with the phrase cut for time in the middle section of Pinza's recording restored and Mitchell's acting of it, this is the definitive version as of now. His performance is wisely informed by Pinza's, just as any Henry Higgins is by Rex Harrison's, but built on to make it his own. White does similar work with Bloody Mary, absorbing Juanita Hall without imitating her. Cable is very well sung if flatly acted; Alec Baldwin condescends to the underwritten baffoonish part of Billis, but is fine anyway (fortunately his singing appearance is brief).Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
It was only by accident I came across the Great Perfomances show on PBS, South Pacific at Carnegie Hall. Prepared to listen and look for a minute -- the evening flew by and I was enchanted from beginning to end. The really GREAT voice was Brian Stokes Mitchell as French planter Emil. I always thought Ezio Pinza was THE Emil but Mitchell kicks major derrier. His voice breaks my heart and never have I heard the songs sung as well or with such depth as Mitchell brings to the role of Emil. Reba was as good as it gets. At times she was uncomfortable with the lines and wish her nervousness had not come through in the speaking parts but the songs and music.....Reba WAS Nellie Forbush. Her energy seemed to carry everyone to new levels and this rendition of South Pacific sparkled. Wish Reba and Mitchell would do it on stage, complete production. Now I am anxious to get the CD and put my tape of the movie version of South Pacific out of its misery. SP is my favorite musical bar none. I don't know why but it just makes me glad to be alive. I hope Reba and Brian Mitchell do take this version of South Pacific on the road. I would go a long way to see it. Alec Baldwin was OK as Luther Billis .... but Ray Walston is still my favorite. Reba was terrific and Mitchell....God gave him a voice that must make angels weep.
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