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Centre Stage

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Reseña de álbum

Thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber, Michael Ball has been a star in his native U.K. since 1989, when he created the role of Alex Dillingham in Lloyd Webber's musical Aspects of Love and got to sing "Love Changes Everything," which became a number one hit. Since then, while continuing to appear in West End shows, he's charted ten solo albums in Britain. This one, the tenth, makes a good introduction to listeners in the U.S. (where Hip-O issued four of his previous discs in 2000). The song list consists entirely of show music, with qualifications, since "The Winner Takes It All" was a hit for ABBA before it was included with a collection of the group's other songs in the musical Mamma Mia, and the Bee Gees' "Immortality" was written for and introduced by Celine Dion before being interpolated into the score of the stage version of Saturday Night Fever. Ball harks back to early triumphs with "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables, the show in which he made his West End debut in 1985, as well as "The Music of the Night" and the title song from The Phantom of the Opera (the latter a duet with Lesley Garrett), which he appeared in in 1987. His other choices tend to reflect his immersion in sub-operatic pop-style theater music, though he also throws in a couple of Stephen Sondheim songs. He possesses a supple tenor that he frequently uses in melodramatic and stagy ways, an artificial approach that may be unconvincing to American listeners used to more down-to-earth interpretations. This isn't a collection that takes any chances, and it pales in comparison to Donny Osmond's 2001 album This Is the Moment, which employs several of the same songs, much less the catalog of Michael Crawford.

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A Wonderful Introduction to this Singer

Several years ago I was in London on a visit, and attended a performance of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. When I left the theatre, I had the feeling that I had just discovered something fantastic in the voice of the man playing the role of Caractacus Potts. He was Michael Ball, one of the U.K.'s most popular musical theatre performers, and, until that night, unknown to me. I wanted to hear more from this man. I bought this cd as it was the most recent (at that time) of his recordings available. I wanted to get a better idea of how Michael sounded with other songs, and was delighted with what I heard. It's a mixture of moods, with each song telling a different story. In each song Michael projected the emotions of the subject. Examples: The Boy From Nowhere -- frusration with the roadblocks on the path to fulfilling his dream. Immortality -- the drive to succeed, to gain the fame he needed to move on with his life. Not While I'm Around -- comfort, and a vow of protection from the evils of the world. Finally, in the Phantom's song, Music of the Night, Michael is seductive as he weaves his spell around the listener, urging us to give in to our darker side and embrace the power of the music he writes. Most of the songs on the CD were unfamiliar to me, as were the musicals from whence they came. But several have now become favorites because of the way Michael sang them. One song I was familiar with was Send in the Clowns -- I have heard several versions of this one over the years, and, having heard Michael's rendtion, prefer it above all others. Over the last several years I have had the pleasure of hearing many fine singers in many genres of music. There have only been a few who have stirred my soul, and Michael bacame one of them that night in the London Palladium. This cd and others that followed have reinforced this impression. He is a singer who puts his heart and soul in everything he sings. It's clearly evident in this cd and when he is performing on a live stage. This CD was a perfect introduction of this man's incredible gift.

Beautiful, regardless of what the idiots below said.

Alright, before I jump into how beautifully sensitive Michael Ball's voice is on this album, let's clear the air and state a few simple, obvious truths: Michael Ball is not Michael Crawford, nor is he Colm Wilkonson, or Len Cariou, or any number of other Broadway greats. Michael Ball is Michael Ball, and like every other Broadway singer, he sings songs originally sung by other people. And just because those other people sang them well, this does not mean that they are the only ones allowed to sing them, EVER again (and FYI; Michael Ball has originated a few songs himself. He's pretty awesome in his own right, so quite pretending to be Broadway Geniuses when you can't even recognize one of Musical Theatre's most talented singers). This album, while repetitive of his "The Musicals" album, is still a lovely collection of hits to hum to. His voice quakes with timeless emotion, especially in "Send in the Clowns," "Not While I'm Around," and my personal favorite, "Tell Me On A Sunday." As a collection, this is cohesive, but I have a few of these songs sung by him already so I'm picking and choosing. You'd do well to follow suit, but give it a good listen!

wonderful singer

i strongly disagree with the poster who was not happy that he sang songs from phantom. I really think michael has one of the most amazing voices out there right now. and he is a joy to listen too know matter what song he sings. great performer, great singer. i hope to hear him sing live some day.

Biografía

Nacido/a: Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, Engla, 27 de julio de 1962

Género: Vocal

Años de actividad: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A regular face on British stage and television, performer Michael Ball was born in 1962 in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, U.K. Moving to South West England when he was three years old, Ball grew up learning to sing along to records by Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, and after an unhappy stint at boarding school in his teens — and discovering a love of Shakespeare during school holidays — Ball went on to study at the Guilford School of Acting. Graduating in 1984, his first role was in...
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Centre Stage, Michael Ball
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