San Francisco Symphony’s new release of WEST SIDE STORY is the most significant recording of Leonard Bernstein’s musical theatre masterpiece since the original Broadway cast recording of 1957. Last season, between June 27 and July 2, Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas and the SF Symphony presented five performances of West Side Story at Davies Hall. It marked the first time the full score had ever been presented in concert. The performances were recorded for this project and have been released on hybrid SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) and high resolution digital formats. Starring Alexandra Silber as “Maria”, Cheyenne Jackson as “Tony”, Jessica Vosk as “Anita” and featuring members of the outstanding SF Symphony Chorus, this beautifully engineered 2-disc recording captures the spectacular sound and riveting flow of energy I recall from the opening night performance.
Michael Tilson Thomas is internationally renowned for his mastery of the Bernstein repertoire. Under his 20-year leadership, the San Francisco Symphony has triumphed as a world class orchestra and one that thrives on diversity. With West Side Story comes a spirituality and connection to the composer that exposes fresh information and scintillating nuance around every corner.
Alexandra Silber is the definitive Maria. Her rich and clear soprano voice is so nice to come home to. It is the pure sound of Classic Modern – ringing and open, free of dull commercial trends. Alexandra's rendition of “I Feel Pretty” is the jewel in the crown of this exquisite recording. Throughout the scene with her friends at the dress shop – she conveys Maria’s innocence, her simple glee over a new frock, and the blossoming passion she feels for a pretty wonderful boy. Silber's style and tonality are completely harmonious with Cheyenne Jackson’s bright and flexible Pop tenor range. Following his skillful renditions of “Something’s Coming” and “Maria” – the couple’s rendition of “Tonight” glows with musical finesse and guileless affection.
Jessica Vosk is a spit-fire knock-out as Anita. Kevin Vortmann is sexy and cool as Riff. Julia Bullock delivers a sumptuous version of “Somewhere”. And Justin Keyes totally nails the wise-ass Action in the tightest and grittiest, most harmonic version ever of “Gee, Officer Krupke”.
Click here to order WEST SIDE STORY from the Symphony Store.