Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony release Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story as you’ve never heard it before: a live recording of the first-ever concert performances of the complete Broadway score, starring Cheyenne Jackson as Tony and Alexandra Silber as Maria. The 2-hybrid SACD set is sumptuously packaged in a 100-page, hard-bound full colour book.
Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony serve up the most sizzling release of the summer: Leonard Bernstein’s legendary musical score to West Side Story. The live recording from San Francisco’s Davies Symphony Hall captures the first-ever concert performances of the complete Broadway score, including spoken dialogue. The talented cast is led by two young stars of the stage and screen: gay icon Cheyenne Jackson (30 Rock, Glee, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida) as Tony, and Alexandra Silber (Carousel, The Woman in White, Master Class) as Maria. There can be no better conductor at the helm of this greatest of theatrical scores than MTT, who is indelibly associated with Leonard Bernstein and his legacy.
The appeal of this West Side Story will be broad, to collectors of classical, musical theatre and audiophile recordings. The sumptuous package features two premium audio hybrid SACDs in a 100-page, hard-bound full colour book featuring a major essay, notes by Jaime Bernstein and Rita Moreno, interviews, a historical timeline, archival photographs, complete lyrics, and extensive rehearsal and performance photos.
“So much of what Michael Tilson Thomas and his San Francisco Symphony Orchestra achieve here hits the spot; nowhere is casting wrong-headed...[Jackson] is idiomatic and engaged...Silber is lovely, too, with more vocal colour than the average show (soubrette) soprano...pretty damn good, and the first serious challenger to the...Broadway original.” Gramophone
“Tilson Thomas's version scores heavily with its casting of the appealingly youthful-sounding Cheyenne Jackson as Tony and Alexandra Silber as Maria...The orchestra swings like the biggest of big bands, with a driving kit drummer and some spectacular trumpet playing...The performance deserves, and demands, tumultuous applause.” BBC Music Magazine
“As Maria, Silber accounts for several highlights on this recording. Her gleaming, peach-pure soprano lends sweetness and sexiness to the romantic duets...Tilson Thomas and the orchestra bring a wonderful clarity and pulsing sense of lushness to these songs and scenes...The percussion section covers itself in glory, punching up rhythms and deftly spicing things up throughout.” Music Web