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Customer Reviews

Takes me back to my childhood ...

... listening to Peter Ustinov's narative of this masterpiece on LP was a huge hit with me as a kid. If you can't find that treasure, definitely get this version. Dame Edna does it marvelously with her own little kick of humour. What a great bargain!

A wonderful surprise

I admit complete bias as a longtime fan of Dame Edna. I'm also a musician and have performed all of the pieces included on this album and know them, well, "intimately" is probably the correct word.

If you first see this album and think, "Oh, a novelty record. Maybe a publicity stunt," I don't think anyone could blame you. Instead, what we have here is something really, really special: Wonderful, warm interpretations of three of the most luminous "works for children" that happen to be so good, they are revered and loved by adults. As an introduction to classical music, you won't find – even eight years after it's release – a better package.

I'll admit I knew nothing of the Melbourne Orchestra or John Lanchbery before I heard this recording. Well, they aren't good: they're great. The smallest details, nuances that I never knew, just came out of nowhere. It was as close as I could get to hearing the pieces for the first time. Frankly, I've frequently heard better-known "world-class" orchestras pale embarrassingly by comparison.

"But what about Dame Edna?!" If you expected her to hijack these pieces and make them hilarious extensions of her stage shows, I'm sorry to say that – aside from a couple of "possums," the pet name she uses for her audience – she doesn't stray from the classic stories. I'm happier, however, to tell you, it's just that respect for the source material that makes these interpretations nothing less than present-day classics that stand with the best. She's like the lovable, warm Aunt from Australia you never knew you had. How warm? Without changing a thing, using some carefully paced wording and a tiny laugh, she turns the of ending Peter and the Wolf from macabre to merry. Parents, that's for you. For Poulenc's Babar, the Baby Elephant, Barry Humphries drops his alter ego and, as himself, gives an gentle, understated performance that is, for me, simply the best Babar ever.

Note to classical purists: Don't expect gauzy, Chandos-like, sitting-in-the-concert-hall authenticity. The producer and sound engineers more than earned their fee here. Frankly, they make a strong argument that recordings shouldn't seek to plop the listener in Orchestra, Row E – however difficult that may be to achieve. Nonetheless, I don't feel these are sterile, overly tweaked, artificial recordings either. You can still "see" the instruments perfectly – except here, things like harp harmonics don't get lost just because they're at the back of hall. Next to the basses.)

Peter and the Wolf - Dame Edna Everage, Barry Humphries
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Customer Ratings

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