Sweeney Todd

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Disc : 1
  1. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
  2. No Place Like London
  3. The Worst Pies in London
  4. Poor Thing
  5. My Friends
  6. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
  7. Green Finch and Linnet Bird
  8. Ah, Miss
  9. Johanna
  10. Pirelli's Miracle Elixir
  11. The Contest
  12. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
  13. Johanna
  14. Wait
  15. Kiss Me
  16. Ladies in Their Sensitivities
  17. Kiss Me
Disc : 2
  1. Pretty Women
  2. Epiphany
  3. A Little Priest
  4. God, That's Good!
  5. Johanna
  6. By the Sea
  7. Not While I'm Around
  8. The Judge's Return
  9. The Ballad of Sweeney Todd
The 2005 revival of Stephen Sondheim's 1979 Grand Guignol masterpiece Sweeney Todd illustrates what happens when you have a director with genuine vision. The show has been completely reivented, yet at the same time its dark core has been masterfully unveiled, not betrayed. In John Doyle's radically pared-down version (which originated in England), there's no orchestra in the pit: Each member of the small cast is on stage the entire time and plays one or more instrument in addition to singing. Thus Michael Cerveris (Sweeney) also plays guitar, Patti LuPone (Mrs. Lovett) plays percussion and tuba, Donna Lynne Champlin (Pirelli) plays accordion, piano, and flute, etc. Of course this means that those used to hearing Sondheim's operatic score delivered by a full orchestra (LuPone herself starred in a 2000 version recorded with the New York Philharmonic) will have to get used to Sarah Travis's minimalist arrangements. But the setting works wonders and the cast rises to the challenge. Cerveris is intensely charismatic as the murderous barber and LuPone finds great dark humor in Mrs. Lovett, while the younger Lauren Molina (Johanna) and Manoel Felciano (Tobias) aptly go from innocence to despair. While completely different in style, this recording stands proudly next to the original one. No small feat, that. --Elisabeth Vincentelli