About this Recording
8.225913HDCD - BROADWAY CHORAL FAVOURITES
English 

I. THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA

Book by Andrew Lloyd Webber & Richard Stilgoe
Lyrics by Charles Hart and others
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Translated by Xue Fan

A musician whose face has been badly disfigured lives a solitary life in caverns beneath the Paris Opera. Infatuated with a young singer, he helps her to success and when he finds she has a lover, tries to force her to marry him. Finally he relents, realising his love is too great to want to possess the girl.

Based on a novel by Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera enjoyed greater success in 1925 as a film, a success repeated by further film versions in 1943,1962 and 1989, with a television version in 1982. The same material inspired the Chinese film Midnight Singing. Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical was first staged in London in 1986, reaching New York two years later. Andrew Lloyd Webber is the only composer to have had three musicals, Cats, Starlight Express and The Phantom of the Opera, running simultaneously in London and New York.

II. WEST SIDE STORY

Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Translated by Zhen Jin

West Side Story, a modern American Romeo and Juliet, first staged in 1957, is the best known musical of the American conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein. In the slums of New York two rival gangs fight with each other. Tony, of the American Jets, falls in love with Maria, from the Puerto Rican gang, the Sharks, led by Maria's brother Bernardo, who strongly opposes the relationship. Tony’s friend Riff, leader of the Jets', is killed by Bernardo, who, in turn, is killed by Tony. Thinking Maria to be dead, Tony allows himself to be shot by the Sharks.

West Side Story, won the American Tony Award and a film of it appeared in 1961, winning ten awards, including best film of the year, in the Academy Awards of 1974. The songs Maria and Tonight have become widely familiar.

III. SOUTH PACIFIC

Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
Translated by Zhen Jin

Two inter-linked stories provide the basis of the Rodgers and Hammerstein 1949 musical South Pacific. Set during the Pacific War, the first story tells of the love between Lieutenant Cabull and a Polynesian girl, an affair that has to end, after one night of 19ve. The second story is that of an American naval nurse and a French settler on the Pacific island. Their affair starts on an enchanted evening, but comes to an end when the two men are sent away on a dangerous war-time mission. A film based on the musical was made in 1958.

IV. THE MUSIC MAN

Lyrics & Music by Meredith Willson
Translated by Shen Da-jie, Shen Chen-zhou & Han Rong

A musical instrument salesman, in an American country town in 1912, arrives during Independence Day celebrations. Here he goes on the platform to expose gambling in the town and to urge the people to save the children, suggesting that a children's band should be formed. When he sings Seventy-Six Trombones, children join in the chorus, mimicking playing various instruments. He ends by selling all the instruments he has and winning the love of a girl. Finally he can conduct the children's band in a town carnival.

The Music Man was completed in 1957 and a film version was made in 1962.

V. CAROUSEL

Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
Translated by Sheng Jie

Billy Bigelow, working at a fairground selling tickets for the carousel, falls in love with a local girl and marries her. Trying to earn what money he can, he turns to robbery and is killed. After his death, however, he is allowed to return to life on condition that he does something good. His soul makes its presence known to his daughter at her final school prize-giving, when he encourages her self-reliance and belief in herself.

Carousel dates from 1945, with a film version in 1956.

VI. THE KING AND I

Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Radgers
Translated by Sheng Jie

In mid-nineteenth century Bangkok an English widow is engaged by the royal family of Siam as governess to the King's children. As she settles, with her son, in the palace, there are comic conflicts between European and Thai culture, but in the end, to our astonishment, Anne and the King fall in love.

Based on Margaret Landon's novel Anne and the King of Siam, the musical was first staged in 1951, with a film version five years later. By 1984 the stage musical had had 4625 performances.

VII. FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Music by Jerry Bock
Translated by Xue Fan & Zhen Jin

Fiddler on the Roof, based on a story by Sholem Aleichem, is a Broadway classic. It centres on the family of a poor Jewish farmer, in Russia in 1905. His first daughter marries a poor tailor, against her parents' wishes, the second follows her revolutionary lover to Siberia, while the third elopes with her Gentile lover. The Russians destroy the village, and the father, homeless, still follows his traditional beliefs and decides to emigrate to America.

First staged in New York in 1964, a successful film version of Fiddler on the Roof was made in 1971.

VIII. THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Music by Richard Rodgers
Translated by Xue Fan & Xu Yi

Rodgers and Hammerstein brought their successful collaboration to an end with The Sound of Music in 1959. Hammerstein died in 1960, outlived by Rodgers by some nineteen years. The work was based on the 1949 autobiography of Maria von Trapp, The Trapp Family Singers.

In Austria in 1938 Sister Maria is engaged by the retired widower Captain von Trapp as governess to his seven children. She looks after the children like a mother and fosters their love of singing and games. With the Nazi occupation of Austria, the family escapes together, taking advantage of the occasion of a singing festival.

The Sound of Music won a Tony award in 1959 and in 1965 the film version won five Academy Awards, including that of best film of the year.


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