Great Performances

Season 37 Episode 19

Chess In Concert

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Aired Unknown Jun 17, 2009 on PBS
6.5
out of 10
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Episode Summary

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Chess In Concert
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Songwriters Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus from the singing group ABBA teamed up with lyricist Tim Rice in 1986 to create this original musical. Set at an international chess tournament during the Cold War, the story features a love triangle between rival Russian and American chess players and the woman both love. This performance was taped live at Royal Albert Hall in London on May 12, 2008.moreless

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Primarily Wan, Occasionally Stirring Concert

    6.5
    This concert staging of the original concept album (not the stage version that played the West End or Broadway)is a mixed blessing. We get to hear some of the finest music composed for a musical with a full orchestra and chorus. Unfortunately, the absence of the book to draw cohesion to the project hinders it. Miscasting of two of the leads also draws it to a level significantly below any previous recording. Menzel and Pasquale seem to have no idea of the passion this material requires. Menzel's acting is non-existent, her voice (and I am a fan) not fitting the range of the music. Pasquale is trying to get by on the one character he seems to know how to play - unfortunately he offers little of the charisma necessary to accept this bratty adult. Only Grobin has the vocal intensity to handle the score, bringing down the house with his outstanding Anthem. A corps of dancers is used to awkward effect. Worthwhile if you've never experienced Chess in any other format - otherwise disappointing.moreless

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