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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL 89:40)
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • 4 Featurette
  • Documentaries
Andrew Lloyd Webber - Masterpiece
Eagle Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 135 mins . E . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Andrew Lloyd Webber – Masterpiece is a concert spectacular, covering many of the best songs of this master of musical theatre performed at The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, before an audience unfamiliar with musical theatre, in September 2001. Conducted masterfully by musical director Patrick Vaccariello, the China Philharmonic Orchestra sounds superb. Elaine Page is the star of this performance and she is ably supported by very strong lead performers Kris Phillips, Tony Vincent and Sandy Lam, not household names but talented artists that are well suited to these songs. Backed by a predominantly Australian chorus, often performing leads themselves, it is hard to not appreciate the talent on offer. You may even notice Spencer McLaren in the chorus, better know to Australians as Richie Blake from the TV series The Secret Life of Us. There is an abundance of songs covered in this concert running for 134:45 and the attention to detail is incredible. The orchestra are placed in the centre of the stage with walkways built above and behind them, allowing the cast to perform around them on this massive stage in this massive hall. Although this concert is about the music and the fact that there are no cat costumes or phantom masks in sight, it is still visually impressive.

Track list:

Superstar Overture
Superstar
I Don’t Know How to Love Him
Any Dream Will Do
Evita Suite
Buenos Aires
And the Money Kept Rolling In
Don’t Cry For Me Argentina
The Heart Is Slow To Learn
Beautiful Game Overture
Let Us Love In Peace
Gethsemane (I Only Want to Say)
Take That Look off Your Face
The Jellicle Ball
Macavity: The Mystery Cat
Memory
Aspects of Aspects
Love Changes Everything
Whistle Down the Wind
Pie Jesu
Phantom Overture
The Phantom of the Opera – The Journey
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
All I Ask Of You
Masquerade
The Music of the Night
Car Chase
Sunset Boulevard
The Perfect Year
As If We Never Said Goodbye
No Matter What
Friends For Life – Amigos Para Siempre

Many songs will be familiar to most, even if you don’t recognise the titles, No Matter What was a big hit for pop band Boyzone, topping the charts, as did Friends For Life for Jose Carreras and Sarah Brightman. Due to many problems encountered, such as language difficulties and access to rehearsal venues, the first full dress rehearsal was only done four hours prior to opening night. Given every reason to not succeed, this never comes close to failing. Fans of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s work and those of musical theatre will love this spectacular performance.

  Video
  Audio
  Extras
Contract

Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced, there are few faults with this wonderful transfer. Picture quality is sharp and clear, capturing this feast for the eyes. Colours are strong and skin tones and shadow detail are terrific. Blacks are very deep and lighting is used well. There is little over saturation and only minor aliasing. The layer change occurs at 89:40 between songs and is unobtrusive.

Audio is available in Dolby Digital 2.0, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1. All are good in their own right, the DD 2.0 stands up well with good balance as does the DD 5.1, however the DD 5.1 tends not to use the rear speakers too much, keeping the focus on the performers. The DTS track is the best of the three available, using much better separation and giving a much fuller sound. The subwoofer gets a mild workout, more so in the stronger songs. Any one of the three is worthy of this performance though.

There are a few extras available in the form of featurettes. All are presented in a 1.78:1 ratio and sound is provided in DD 2.0.

Backstage In Beijing
With a running time of 37 minutes, this is a documentary showing how this spectacle came to be, the reasons behind it and the obstacles faced. Including interviews with cast, crew ad Andrew Lloyd Webber, this is an informative feature.

Sponsor of the Show – Motorola
As the title states, this is basically an advertisement for the sponsor of the show. Just in case you don’t get the not so subtle marketing, there are two commercials included. Running time is 5:30.

Cast Visit to the Great Wall of China
The Great Wall is really just a backdrop for this featurette. The cast discusses a few topics including rehearsals and the show. Running time is 2:24.

Cast Views on the Show
With a brief running time of 1:58, cast express their thoughts on the performance and how they think it went.

Music of the Night (Acapella)
Male members of the cast perform and up-beat version of this classic in the dressing room prior to going on stage. Running time is .55 but a nice bonus nonetheless.


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  •   And I quote...
    "What better way is there of introducing China to musical theatre than to show them the best? "
    - Adrian Turvey
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Akai DV-P2000
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-29S55AT 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Akai AM-SS1500
    • Speakers:
          Akai
    • Centre Speaker:
          Akai
    • Surrounds:
          Akai
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
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