Author Topic: Sweeney Todd & The Phantom of the opera  (Read 2132 times)

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Sean

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Sweeney Todd & The Phantom of the opera
« on: July 12, 2007, 05:46:44 AM »
Not that I'm into musicals you understand, but I've just borrowed these from the library and will give them a go I guess. I've already tried Sondheim's Company, which was excruciating to listen to in parts, in fact the most part, and Lloyd Webber's Requiem and pleasantly inventive Tell me on a sunday song cycle. I also came home with Jesus Christ superstar but was reminded how much of a simple rock-musical this early work is (good movie at the time though).

Online Tsaraslondon

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Re: Sweeney Todd & The Phantom of the opera
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2007, 06:05:41 AM »
Not that I'm into musicals you understand, but I've just borrowed these from the library and will give them a go I guess. I've already tried Sondheim's Company, which was excruciating to listen to in parts, in fact the most part, and Lloyd Webber's Requiem and pleasantly inventive Tell me on a sunday song cycle. I also came home with Jesus Christ superstar but was reminded how much of a simple rock-musical this early work is (good movie at the time though).

What was excruciating about Company? Musically, it may be of its time (though less so than Joseph and the Amazing Tecnicolour Dreamcoat or Jesus Christ Superstar), but the lyrics are incredibly clever. It knocks anything Lloyd Webber wrote into a cocked hat. Some of his earlier stuff was pretty good, but, quite honestly, after Evita, and coincidentally, after he stopped collaborating with Tim Rice, his work went rapidly down hill, even if it did pull in the crowds. The Requiem is totally derivative (Faure being the obvious influence), and Phantom of the Opera is an uneasy mix of rock and sub Puccini. Sweeney Todd, on the other had has some great music, and, not surprisingly, some great lyrics, from the wonderfully witty A little priest to the ecstatic Johanna. And musically Sondheim's scores are so complex, it is no surprise to find that more and more opera companies are taking his work into their repertoire. I doubt we will ever see the day when they perform Phantom of the Opera, Aspects of Love or Sunset Boulevard.

Now where is my copy of Company? You've made me want to listen to it again.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2007, 06:08:12 AM by Tsaraslondon »
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Offline Brewski

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Re: Sweeney Todd & The Phantom of the opera
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2007, 07:18:07 AM »
Sondheim could probably use his own thread, and I think Sweeney Todd is arguably his masterpiece, although Company is a brilliant creation, too.  (Agreed: the word "excruciating" would never come to mind.)  The fusion of story, music and lyrics in Sweeney is quite amazing, as are Jonathan Tunick's orchestrations, and the swiftly-moving plot alone is a marvel, combining humor and horror in equal measure. 

I can't say I think Phantom of the Opera is even in the same league, but to each his own. 

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Sean

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Re: Sweeney Todd & The Phantom of the opera
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2007, 09:07:14 AM »
Thanks for that you two. I thought the dialogue in Company a bit trying and some of the singing in the performance I had (live from somewhere) verging on shouting at times to make a confused effect. The lyrics as you say are clever and make you think.

L-W's Requiem is indeed derivative, and the point where it gives up trying to be serious and slides into pop music is a bit of a joke. I already know Phantom has its daft melodrama but will report back on this and Todd in a couple of weeks (won't get to the till then...).

Offline aquablob

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Re: Sweeney Todd & The Phantom of the opera
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2007, 04:40:55 PM »
Make sure you watch the Sweeney Todd with Angela Lansbury!

Sean

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Re: Sweeney Todd & The Phantom of the opera
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2007, 05:35:34 AM »
I just finished playing to my satisfaction the two musicals in question here. Very briefly Phantom has some good ideas but leaves an overall impression of unskilful manufacture and the good melodies issuing from a ground slab of dead wood. At first I thought Todd was worse but see this as the stronger of the two now, with some genuinely clever tunes and sequences, and more carefully drawn atmosphere too. Actually Sondheim's cute melodies remind me of a few in Anything goes.

scsinger01

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Re: Sweeney Todd & The Phantom of the opera
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2007, 05:42:14 AM »
No love for Into the Woods? or Putting it Together?

of all the Soundheim i've heard/sung Putting it together is extremely entertaining and you really cant beat the plot of Into the Woods imo.

Offline BachQ

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Re: Sweeney Todd & The Phantom of the opera
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2007, 12:31:54 PM »
I just finished playing to my satisfaction the two musicals in question here. Very briefly Phantom has some good ideas but leaves an overall impression of unskilful manufacture and the good melodies issuing from a ground slab of dead wood. At first I thought Todd was worse but see this as the stronger of the two now, with some genuinely clever tunes and sequences, and more carefully drawn atmosphere too. Actually Sondheim's cute melodies remind me of a few in Anything goes.

So what's your point, Sean?