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7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Performances

Author: kechelsen
2 January 2003

I first saw bits and pieces of this when it was on PBS several years ago, and bought the video on the advice of a Michael Ball fan. I very much enjoy Andrew Lloyd Webber's music, and I enjoyed just about every performance in this show. The highlights for me: Michael Ball's rendition of Gethsemane was very powerful, the best I've ever heard. Vaults of Heaven, a new song to me, was stunningly beautiful, as was his duet with Sarah Brightman, All I Ask of You. As for Love Changes Everything -- absolutely outstanding, especially with the entire cast joining in.

Donny Osmond was excellent with two of the best songs from Joseph.

Antonio Banderas was a surprise -- he was very good singing the pieces from Evita, but not as good singing the title song from Phantom of the Opera -- there were some minor errors in his phrasing and he sounded like he was a bit out of his voice range.

Glenn Close was simply magnificant in her singing of the songs from Sunset Boulevard.

I was disappointed in Sarah Brightman's performance of Pie Jesu. Rounding her mouth as she did throughout most of the song made the words almost unintelligible, and spoiled the beauty of the song for me. Ben De'ath, the young boy who sang with her, was much clearer in his enunciation. Ms. Brightman's other performances were much better.

If you are a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber's music, you will want this for your collection.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Spectacular entertainment! - A Gift from Heaven!

10/10
Author: William David Simmons
31 December 1998

There are not enough superlatives to describe this entertainment event. Antonio Banderas shines on EVITA and PHANTOM OF THE OPERA(with Sarah Brightman no less!). Glenn Glose radiates on SUNSET BOULEVARD songs. Elaine Paige astounds musically. A new group called Boyzone, young men all dressed in white - makes one wonder aloud, when will they take America by storm? Donny Osmond repeats his JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT spectaculars! Kiri Te Kanawa is also a marvel as is Michael Ball (who uplifts the most with his "Love Changes Everything" - which literally had me dancing on my living room floor because of the gospel choir backup). Bonnie Tyler will amaze with her motorcycle rock rouser and Sarah Brightman - as always - is beyond description. Rent buy or borrow (as I did from the Library) this visually and auditory treat...I loved every second. Webber's birthday present is a gift from heaven!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Concert You Will Never Forget

10/10
Author: sexy_superstud from New York, NY
23 March 2005

If you are a die-hard Andrew Lloyd Webber fan like myself, this is an absolute must-have for the permanent collection. I loved every minute of it. Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's 50th Birthday Celebration was the night to remember.

Sarah Brightman sang beautifully, as she soared into the stratosphere in the "Phantom of the Opera" duet with Antonio Banderas. Donny Osmond offered clean phrasing and vocalism in his selection from "Joseph and the Technicolored Amazing Dreamcoat." Glenn Close brought Hollywood style and charisma to her selections from "Sunset Boulevard." Julian Lloyd Webber brought technical mastery and pitch-perfect intonation to the "Varations for Cello and Orchestra" piece.

And then, almost towards the very end, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber himself came out and personally introduced Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to the audience. Dame Kiri, a few moments later, sang the world premiere of his new song, "The Heart is Slow to Learn," intended for the sequel to his magnum opus, "The Phantom of the Opera." Well, it was in a word, stunning. Te Kanawa sang passionately, and with the sincerity a famous classical performer would bring to Wagner or Puccini. Absolutely breathtaking.

And then, the entire cast came out to sing "Happy Birthday" to Sir Andrew, with Kiri Te Kanawa and Sarah Brightman soaring above the entire orchestra and chorus. There was no dry eye in the audience.

An absolutely wonderful performance!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Man, The Music, The Party

Author: robinflamingo (robinflamingo@comcast.net) from Michigan, USA
9 January 2005

Andrew Lloyd Webber's 50th birthday party was certainly something to behold...oh what a circus, oh what a show! Don't you get me wrong, it was absolutely stunning - from Donnie Osmond and his affectionate treatment of the children's chorus, to Antonio Banderas, and his star turns both as Che, and as the Phantom. Sarah Brightman, as always, just blows one away with her sheer beauty and presence, not to mention a dynamite set of pipes. I also was totally mesmerized by the staging, done on a giant ribbon of what looked like staff lines from sheet music, all in black and white. The cast, which was composed of singers and dancers ranging from 8 on up, was also adorned in black and white, making the whole staging visually stunning. The Hosanna set, from both Superstar and Requiem was moving and beautiful. Marcus Lovett struts his way through Superstar with tight black jeans, long flowing hair and muscle shirt.

For me, the high point of the concert is when Michael Ball steps on stage to sing Love Changes Everything, which has become a standard in just a few short years. The entire cast joins him onstage for this one, which serves as sort of a grand finale, even though there's another song after it.

I will always love anything that comes from Sir Andrew, and this DVD is no exception. It is beautifully sung and staged, and is a must have for any fan.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Splendid! Glorious! Unforgettable!

10/10
Author: Olga Levina from Moscow, Russia
24 October 2001

The best ALW music performed by the greatest musicians and singers on the magnificent stage of Albert Hall - it is enough to make a delightful concert. Add impressive decorations, spirited acting of the performers and excellent choirs and dancers - and you will get a superb show. During two hours you can enjoy lovely Joseph (with Donny Osmond, of course), clever Variations (very artistically played by Julian Lloyd Webber), dramatic Evita (only Paige's unique voice can reveal full splendor of Don't cry for me Argentina, and Antonio Banderas is the best Che ever), dynamic Starlight Express, solemn Requiem, passionate Jesus Christ Superstar (even though this musical is not among my favourite Webber's works I couldn't but admire Michael Ball singing Gethsemane), beautiful and mysterious The Phantom of the Opera with exquisite Sarah Brightman as Christine and Banderas proving that he can act Eric (AND HE CAN!), impressive Sunset Boulevard with remarkable Glenn Close, interesting Whistle Down the Wind (Tina Arena, Bonnie Tyler, Boyzone, Michael Ball sang differently styled fragments), wonderful Love Changes Everything (Michael Ball once again at his best), and of course famous Memory (another unforgettable performance from Elaine Paige). And the concert had to be so grand for the sake of Sir Andrew. I adore the moment when the entire cast sings `Happy birthday' to him. A charming scene! Furthermore, ALW presented his new masterpiece The Heart Is Slow to Learn sang beautifully by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and then a young star Lottie Mayor performed Whistle Down the Wind in the most engaging manner with Sir Andrew himself at the piano. My favourite Jellicle Ball (Cats) was used as the brilliant conclusion of the concert. It's a show to enjoy again and again and again!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Very enjoyable

Author: Jennifer (Sedona31) from Ontario, Canada
23 August 2001

Being a diehard musical fan, I instantly fell in love with this video. It has its good an its bad, but overall, the good far outweighs the bad.

My favourite part is Michael Ball's striking rendition of "Gethsemane". I don't think anyone else can compare when it comes to the pure vocal talent and emotion he shows while singing that song. He has a tremendous voice and, in my opinion, is the most talented individual to appear in this concert.

Another part I greatly enjoyed was Glenn Close's "With One Look". Very whimsically insane, very memorable. Also enjoyable was Antonio Banderas' Che, singing "Oh What a Circus". I didn't enjoy his version of "The Phantom of the Opera" as much, but I'll definitely take him over Michael Crawford any day!

Not being a fan of Sarah Brightman's, the only part which I have any serious complains about is the amount of time she was on stage. I think she has a decent voice, and average acting talent - but definitely not enough to warrant how many song she sang during the concert.

Overall, I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber's music; or to musical theatre fans in general. 8.5/10

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

That's entertainment

Author: *Phantom Chick* from Transylvania
3 July 2000

This video is a must see for all Andrew Lloyd Webber fans. Over all it is spectacular, with a few (small) exceptions. Donny Osmond does a triumphant reprise of his Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat role, Elaine Paige is riveting as Eva Peron singing Don't Cry for Me Argentina (made me want to run right out and buy the original London cast album!), and also singing Memory. To be honest, I was a little disappointed with Sarah Brightman's performance. . . don't get me wrong, she has a beautiful voice, but it lacks the energy of her younger years. Still, she did a lovely turn singing Pie Jesu. Antonio Banderas was very entertaining as Che, but I honestly thought that having him sing the part of the Phantom was a bad idea. . . Michael Crawford he is not.

I also thought the guy who sang Superstar seemed a little off key. Maybe it was just my hearing. However, the highlight of the evening for me, was Michael Ball. He has one of the most beautiful and powerful voices I have ever heard, capable of singing with great emotion . . .which he did in this performance. Michael is always best in front of a live audience, and this performance is no different (if you like this, get the concert video of Les Miserables, it is awesome.) Michael Ball's performance of Gethsemane is the very best I have ever heard. . . it is amazing. Even if the rest of the video had been bad, that song would have made it for me. He also does a lovely job on his trademark tune, Love Changes Everything, and The Vaults of Heaven. Over all, I give this video ***1/2 out of ****.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Antonio Is the Ultimate Phantom

10/10
Author: mexluver05 from United States
16 October 2005

The only reason I bought this film was to see Mr. Banderas in the singing role he was meant to play. I'm sick of hearing that he overly sang or his costume was not good enough. The only reason no one liked him is because he's a Latino, fair and square. He has the voice, looks and talent yet was denied the starring role in the film to an actor with no vocal talent whats so ever. Luckily anyone who can appreciate the great talent of this man can see how great of a singer he is. And another note it was great to see Glenn Close as Norma Desmond, The original Sunset Blvd is my favorite film and she comes off very well as the deranged character.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

WHY NO WIDESCREEN VERSION?

Author: fred oberheide (fredinclayton) from Clayton, Missouri
25 November 2003

There has never been a more deserving musical production to be produced in a Widescreen video version than this electrifying Andrew Lloyd Webber presentation. Viewed on a regular 4:3 full screen TV, it's deserving of it's thousands of accolades. But viewed on a Widescreen TV, it becomes a mutilated disaster. I have both types of TV's in my home, so I know whereof I speak. Heads are clipped, and the stupendous choreography is shattered. Oh, Universal Studios, I join with Argentina in crying for a Widescreen version! Even so, the entire presentation merits a resounding 5 STARS, and the astonishing performance of Glenn Close 5+ STARS!!!

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Good and bad

6/10
Author: jscrump-1 from United States
22 March 2005

Now I don't know all of these musicals , so I'm just going to comment on the ones I do know . Evita was beautifully done . I loved Antonio Banderas . I loved that his eyes were filled with bitterness and guilt . He did a fine job singing . Elaine Paige was wonderful . I wish they had used " You Must Love Me " and " The Walz of Che and Evita " . Cats was great . Again , Elaine was wonderful . Still , I wish they had done more from Cats . " The Phantom of the Opera " well .... The overture was ingenious . Antonio Banderas ' acting was fantastic . He really made you believe that he was drawn to this woman . I hated his costume . I'm not trying to offend anyone , but how can you be the Phantom if you don't at the very least wear the mask ? As for Antonio 's singing , it sounded like he was pushing the sound a great deal . I know that this song is not easy to sing . Still , I'm very impressed that Antonio did the job he did , but he wasn't ready yet to sing this part . I admit I was disappointed that Michael Crawford wasn't there , but I'm not trying to play favorites . Sarah Brightman 's singing was wonderful . However , her acting was awful . Though all of " The Phantom of the Opera " , and " The Music of the Night " all she did was stand there, sing, and move her arms . Her acting in " All I Ask of You " wasn't that much better , but at least she moved . I loved Michael Ball . I thought he over sang a little , but he still did a very good job .

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