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Image Entertainment presents
Richard Rodgers: An Enchanted Evening (2002)

Graham Bickley: We'll have Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, too.
Kim Criswell: It's lovely going through the zoo.
Graham Bickley: It's very fancy on old Delancey Street you know.
Kim Criswell: The subway charms us so, when balmy breezes blow—
Graham Bickley: To and fro.

- from the Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart song, "Manhattan"

Review By: David Krauss  
Published: November 16, 2003

Stars: Gillian Anderson, Kim Criswell, Judi Dench, Lesley Garrett, Ruthie Hensahll, Maureen Lipman, Claire Moore, Claire Sweeney, Graham Bickley, Josie Lawrence, Dave Willetts, Patti Boulaye, Joanna Riding, John Hudson, Janis Kelly
Director: Andy Picheta

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 01h:19m:26s
Release Date: November 18, 2003
UPC: 014381072624
Genre: music


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B A-BA D-

DVD Review

Most composers consider themselves fortunate to enjoy a successful collaboration with one lyricist during their career. Richard Rodgers was lucky enough to link up with two—the witty, urbane Lorenz Hart and the poetic Oscar Hammerstein II. Both writers complimented Rodgers' smooth, lilting melodies, yet steered the composer in different directions. Hart helped put Rodgers on the map, supplying clever, sophisticated lyrics to such frothy hit scores as Babes In Arms, On Your Toes and Pal Joey, while the Hammerstein partnership produced more mature, serious musicals that quickly changed the face and perception of the art form. Oklahoma!, South Pacific, Carousel, The King and I, and The Sound of Music are just a few of the unforgettable Broadway classics created by Rodgers and Hammerstein.

The striking differences between both lyricists are highlighted in the celebratory concert, Richard Rodgers: An Enchanted Evening, which provides a wonderful sampling of some of the composer's best work. Produced in London to honor the 100th anniversary of Rodgers' birth, this charming revue showcases many of the songsmith's greatest hits—as well as a few obscure gems—all sung by a distinguished array of British musical stars. The concert inspires renewed appreciation for the breadth and diversity of Rodgers' work, as well as the creative vision that helped mold contemporary musical theater.

The disc wisely, if choppily, edits down the lengthy introductions that precede many numbers in an effort to preserve the musical focus. As a result, the program moves briskly along, beautifully balancing Rodgers & Hart and Rodgers & Hammerstein compositions. A few production numbers break up the standard concert format, and though performed with gusto, I felt such interludes disrupted the evening's intimacy. I much preferred watching the singers perform without all the distracting theatrical trimmings, so I could concentrate on the finer points of their delivery, and savor the power, complexity, and wit of each song.

I found most of the artists unfamiliar, but most quickly impressed with their talent, stage presence, and command of the material. Disc highlights include Claire Sweeney belting Ten Cents a Dance, Joanna Riding's interpretation of An Old Man, and Claire Moore singing Getting to Know You to a throng of adorable Asian children. Lesley Garrett, however, steals the show with a thrilling, emotional rendition of If I Loved You from Carousel.

Even Dame Judi Dench shows up—surely for name recognition value, not musical prowess—and though her presence adds a touch of royal star power, her comic duet of Sixteen Going on Seventeen with Brendan O'Hea badly misses its mark and the pair wind up destroying this charming, romantic melody. Also in the dud category is Josie Lawrence's flat reading of the wickedly clever To Keep My Love Alive.

Such missteps, though, are few and far between, and only slightly dull the concert's high spirits. Richard Rodgers: An Enchanted Evening lives up to its billing, and will offer any lover of musical theater sublime entertainment.

Overture, Babes in Arms
Manhattan
Ten Cents a Dance
Where or When
An Old Man
Some Enchanted Evening
Kansas City
If I Loved You
Soliloquy
Intermission Talk
No Other Love
To Keep My Love Alive
Johnny One-Note
Sixteen Going on Seventeen
I Have Confidence
Honey Bun
Getting to Know You
My Funny Valentine
You'll Never Walk Alone
Oklahoma!


Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The widescreen anamorphic presentation lends the concert a broad, theatrical feel, and although image quality never rises above standard levels, no noticeable defects drag it down. Clarity could be improved, but colors are generally rich and bright. Overall, this is a serviceable, watchable transfer, but nothing special.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes
DTSEnglishyes


Audio Transfer Review: Image Entertainment offers three different soundtrack options to match the capabilities of any home system. Both the DTS and DD 5.1 tracks provide exceptionally clear sound with sparkling fidelity, but in this particular instance my preference leans toward DD 5.1. While the DTS track makes more pronounced use of the rear channels, the surround effects of the orchestra tend to overpower and eclipse the vocals. The DD 5.1 mix is more front-heavy, allowing the vocals to predominate, although subtle ambient elements can often be detected. A Dolby stereo option is also included for low-end systems.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Music/Song Access with 20 cues and remote access
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Only a song selection index is provided.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Richard Rodgers: An Enchanted Evening is just that. Although Rodgers remains an American institution, this British tribute is a fitting, festive celebration of his enormous talent. Image Entertainment offers up a good quality transfer and top-notch audio to properly showcase the timeless work of a musical theater icon.

 


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