Here is the full text of Universal's newsletter...
West Side Story - 50th Anniversary recording
One of the most lauded musicals ever written, West Side Story is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet. It is one of the few musicals that never age, and is still as relevant and well-loved today as it ever was. In this 50th anniversary year of the musical, UCJ has assembled some of the biggest classical crossover stars to record a brand new glitzy version of the musical.
This is one of the only major recordings of this masterpiece to have been made since the 1984 version with Leonard Bernstein himself conducting, and has been made with the authorisation of the Bernstein foundation in New York. The cast in the seminal 1984 recording included Kiri Te Kanawa and Jose Carreras.
In this version the part of Maria is passed over to fellow Kiwi Hayley Westenra who pairs up with Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo. Other stars include Connie Fisher and Melanie Marshall (currently playing the lead in Porgy and Bess). With a bright young cast (the singers’ ages on this new UCJ recording also more closely resemble the youth of both Romeo and Juliet and Maria and Tony) and timeless tunes, this is set to become the recording of choice for the 21st Century West Side Story lover.
West Side Story is released digitally on 30th July and on CD on 13th August.
The highly talented Kiwi Hayley Westenra popped in for a chat with Mike on Monday morning. Hayley has just completed recording the 50Th anniversary CD of WEST SIDE STORY. Hayley was very excited about the Cd which is slightly different from the original inasmuch as it has been updated.
This is taken from the press release: 'UCJ Music has recorded a West Side Story for the 21st Century, casting the roles of Tony & Maria in its 50Th Anniversary is no mean feat. The Artists need to be passionate, young and most of all incredibly talented.
In order to do this much loved musical the justice it deserves, millions of fans will remember both the original film and seminal 1984 recording by Jose Carreras and Kiri Te Kanawa, conducted by Bernstein himself, this modern-day version promises to reinvigorate the classic and bring it to a whole new audience.
So who do you get to perform this honour? The two biggest and youngest stars of classical cross-over in the world, with Vittorio Grigolo as Tony and Hayley Westenra as Maria, you have nothing short of great chemistry and beautiful music.
A review for 'West Side Story' has been published by 'The Evening Standard. I'm afraid it's not very positive. Note that it is listed in the 'Various artists' category.
Various Artists - West Side Story (Universal Classics and Jazz) Evening Standard - London July 20, 2007 By Norman Lebrecht
Just when you thought crossover could get no tackier, the company that put together Leonard Bernstein's nightmare cast for West Side Story has outdone itself with a 50th anniversary tribute album for the work's Broadway premiere.
Bernstein's nadir was a 1984 operatic cast led by Kiri Te Kanawa and Jos Carreras, whom the composer drenched in abuse for their inability to bend a street-cred line. The present line-up is drawn from the amplified charm school: Kiri's Maria is sung by Hayley Westenra, while the Carreras role is aped by pop-opera star Vittorio Grigolo. Where he belts, she winsomely tweets; any musical grit gets lost in tooth-gleam. Elsewhere, Connie Fisher, the BBC talent -show winner, sings Somewhere on the dumb side of nave.
The 1961 movie has been refurbished on DVD; it is preferable on every count.
Hi Joyce, In English you would say: "Norman got out of bed on the wrong side today "
Graeme PS I think German uses the same expression that you quoted too.
The loveliest, sweetest flower that bloomed in paradise, and the first that died, has rarely blossomed since on mortal soil. It is so frail, so delicate, a thing, it is gone if it but look upon itself; and she who ventures to esteem it hers proves by that single thought she has it not. Humility - Fry
Hi, Here is a review of 'West Side Story' from 'The Nothern Echo'. Stephany
News and reviews : 'West Side Story' By Matt Westcott 26 July 2007 The Northern Echo (c) 2007 North of England Newspapers.
Various (UCJ Music) West Side Story is one of the finest of all musicals, so recasting the story to mark its 50th anniversary is a somewhat daunting task. Making it relevant in 2007, while retaining the aspects that made it so well-loved is no mean feat, but on initial listening, it would appear it's been a success and an interpretation Leonard Bernstein would have approved of. Hayley Westenra takes on the role of Maria, joining Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo. Connie Fisher, winner of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? , also appears, while orchestration comes from the Royal Liverpool Philarmonic.
AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH...... My copie op West Side Story was posted today from UK, so it will arrive at Saturday..............Can't wait to listen to it...!!!! JOYCE.
Well that's interesting as Universal said recently that the CD would be delayed until 13th August with only the download album released on 30th July. Amazon still say 30th July for the CD version though.
Utter confusion reigns - not for the first time and it will be interesting to see what happens when Amazon's ordering department tells their warehouse to physically ship the CD... especially if it isn't yet in stock!