I found this little gem by pure chance on Amazon ♥
Above- Steve Balsamo (Jesus) and Joanna Ampil (Mary Magdalene)
In regards to the 1996 cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar ….All I can say is just WOW !! For one the instrumentation is one of the best that I have ever heard it has a real “Rock feel” as it should I LOVE the saxophone! particularly in the song “Superstar” For any “Die Hard” Jesus Christ Superstar fans this CD is a MUST HAVE !!
Jesus of Nazereth……Steve Balsamo
Judas Iscariot…..Zubin Varla
Mary Magdalene…..Joanna Ampil
Pontius Pilate…..David Burt
King Herod….Alice Cooper
Simon Zelotes….Glenn Carter
Well for one you really can’t beat Welsh singing voices in my opinion….there’s something about the amazing voice tone which Steve Balsamo has. He is a ONE OFF !! his voice is so unique not to mention his 3.5 octave vocal range. He’s very young in this recording (about 25) but his voice is mature and sublime to listen to…..he is AMAZING !! His falsetto is faultless….he makes it seem SO EASY !! I LOVE “The Last Supper” which really showcases it. Even though he is 40 now, I still think that they should cast him as Jesus in the new 2014 Jesus Christ Superstar film instead of doing this Andrew Lloyd Webber “Superstar” search. Couldn’t they just make him look younger?
I LOVE Joanna Ampil as Mary Magdeline. I was lucky enough to see her live as Fantine in Les Miserables in the West End in the 2003-2004 cast. She has a wonderful voice, which is so beautiful and filled with emotion. Her version of “I don’t know how to love him” is up there with Yvonne Elliman’s (from the 1973 film) even though her voice type is very different she is incredible ! “Could we start again please?” her (duet with Jonathon Hart who plays Peter is simply stunning) and once again I felt really emotional !!
Zubin Varla’s Judas isn’t the best I’ve ever heard. His voice is a bit husky and harsh (not very pleasant on the ear) I don’t think anyone will live up to Carl Anderson’s high standard from the 1974 film….I LOVE his 1970’s rock voice….R.I.P 😦 ! So yeah I think Varla lets the sensational cast down a bit. I do like his version of “Damned for all time” though!
Simon Zelotes is also very good and I immediately realised it was Glenn Carter who played Jesus is the 2000 film. Even though his voice is quite classical his version of the song “Simon Zelotes” is excellent….he makes a far better Simon than when he played Jesus. (I can never quite forgive him for DESTROYING one of my favourite songs Gethsemane if I’m quite honest his interpretation of the song was an “Airy fairy pansy-ish JOKE!!” )
Ciaphas (Peter Gallagher) and Annas (Martin Callaghan) are brilliant. Another legend includes David Burt as Pontius Pilate. He played Enjolras in the Original London Cast of Les Miserables way back in 1985. He’s great- far better than Barry Dennman from the 1973 film who I felt was really weak, but not as good as Fred Johanson from the 2000 film. He was AWESOME with a really deep and rich voice….his crazy facial expressions did make me chuckle slightly though!
I like Herod even though he has only a small part in the musical. Alice Cooper’s character portrayal seems to be somewhere in between the comical King Herod from the 1973 film and the creepy Herod from the 2000 film version. He’s appropriately mocking and portrayed as an idiot. Cooper was not originally part of that cast, therefore making the recording a “Studio cast recording.”
The trial before Pilate is the best I have ever heard although I LOVED Fred Johannson’s version. You can really hear the pain in Steve Balsamo’s voice! From then on the cast recording brought tears to my eyes. John 19:41 always makes me really emotional it was AMAZING !!
Ahhh I only wish that I could have been born at least 10 years earlier so that I could have seen this wonderful cast.