Rodgers & Hammerstein: The King and I
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It is the "I" that makes this special
Here, Julie Andrews sings one of her last complete roles before her tragic voice loss....even in the early 90's, some of her lustre is gone, but her character shines through every note. The use of the movie orchestrations make this sound so rich and full...my only complaint is Peabo Bryson, who sounds a bit pop for this piece....but Lea Salonga's Tuptim is a treat.
My expectations for this album were extremely high, especially in regard to the female cast. After all, here we have Dame Julie Andrews as Anna Leonowens, Lea Salonga (fresh out of Miss Saigon) as Tuptim, and in the role of Lady Thiang one of my favorite opera singers, Marilyn Horne. With such anticipation I almost doomed myself to disappointment, but once I listened to it a few times I grew to love it. Conductor John Mauceri uses the lush orchestrations arranged for the movie and it is a delight to hear them in digital sound, played by the excellent Hollywood Bowl orchestra. The symphonic sound is probably the highlight of the recording, but the three ladies pull through to astounding affect nonetheless. Andrews’ voice, obviously, isn’t in its prime, but it has deepened and matured into a very womanly sound that is perfect for the role. I was sad when I realized that the high notes didn’t have the vibrance I expected, but then again, who knew she could belt like that? Lea Salonga, too, is under a bit of strain in her big number “My Lord and Master,” but she gives a most musical account and in the end, I think she’s my favorite Tuptim. Horne's “Something Wonderful” describes itself. There are many wonderful Lady Thiangs but she definitely leads the pack with that rich, rich voice. The male cast is pretty good too: he’s no Yul Brynner, but Ben Kingsley is better than many another King, and sometimes even generates a vibrant sound, though elsewhere he is hoarse. I knew Peabo Bryson would be the biggest disappointment here. Surprisingly, his spoken dialogue may be the best in the set (some of the others tend towards overemphasis), but in the two duets his healthy voice cannot make up for his lack of style. Roger Moore and Marti Sheen are fine in their spoken roles, and overall I would give this set my highest recommendations.
love this album
i bought this album fist about 15 years ago on cassette tape. i love ben kingsley, lea salonga and julie andrews in their roles on this album. i could listen to this over and over.